BACKPACKERS UN­DER­PAID

Shepparton News - Country News - - MAN’S BEST FRIEND -

More than 90 Korean backpackers have been un­der­paid thou­sands of dol­lars while work­ing on a farm in south-east Queens­land.

The 417 work­ing hol­i­day visa­hold­ers were em­ployed by labour con­trac­tor Boonah Pack­ing Pty Ltd.

Boonah sup­plied labour to Scott Mof­fatt & Co, trad­ing as Mof­fatt Fresh Pro­duce, to sort and pack car­rots on a farm at Tarome.

Mof­fatt Fresh Pro­duce sup­plies car­rots to mar­kets in Bris­bane, Syd­ney and Mel­bourne and pack­ages and pro­vides pro­duce to ma­jor su­per­mar­ket chains in­clud­ing Wool­worths and Aldi.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Fair Work Om­buds­man found the price paid by Mof­fatt to Boonah Pack­ing was suf­fi­cient for the labour-hire con­trac­tor to meet its obli­ga­tions to pay min­i­mum wages un­der the Hor­ti­cul­ture Award 2010.

How­ever, fol­low­ing a com­plaint from one em­ployee that he was un­der­paid, the Fair Work Om­buds­man found Boonah Pack­ing had short-changed al­most 100 ca­sual work­ers more than $16 000 be­tween July last year and Jan­uary this year.

The orig­i­nal com­plainant was un­der­paid $512 and the other 95 a to­tal of $16 198. Ninety-three of the un­der­paid work­ers were Korean visa-hold­ers — 92 of them 417 work­ing hol­i­day-mak­ers and one an in­ter­na­tional stu­dent.

The work­ers were some­times paid a flat rate of $21.08 and piece rates at other times.

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