A Taiwanese foreignshe was exposed to such horrific underpayment rates on an Australian farm she was forced to eat from public rubbish bins to survive. Kate Hsu said she was paid just $4 an hour picking oranges on a South of wage theft and exploitation were revealed in a new report.
Theof fruit and vegetable pickers in Australia were victims of wage theft, with nearly 80 percent of 1300 horticulture industry workers reporting experiences of underpayment.
The survey, conducted by Unions NSW and the Migrant Workers Centre in Victoria, was the latest to expose the inhumane treatment of the workforce, which was accused of systematically exploiting vulnerable overseas workers on.
Ms. Hsu told the NCA NewsWire she was a victim of the payment structure known as ‘piece rate’, where workers were paid by the quantity of fruit or vegetables they picked during a shift. “I was paid, at the lowest, $4 per hour,” she said through an interpreter about her experience picking fruit in Renmark, SA.
“I went dumpster diving to find food inwhen I didn’t have enough money.” Unfortunately, according to the survey, Kate’s story is too familiar, which found that most piece-rate workers were underpaid, with some receiving as little as $1 an hour and only 2 percent paid a legitimate rate of $26 an hour.
The lowest daily wages were reported by piece-rate workers employed on grape and zucchini farms,, followed by blueberry farmworkers who averaged $10 per day. Unions sector “is just a business model”, where “migrant workers are consistently underpaid well below the minimum rate”.
He said the horrific treatment went beyond underpayment, with many overseas workers left vulnerable as their employees had the power to influence their visa status. “Sexually harassed, physically assaulted, often threatened with ‘well if you don’t like it, you can go’,” Mr. Morey told NCA NewsWire.
“Many of these workers are out there for 88 young people out there to be exploited, but there’s no ability to complain about it.” Migrant Workers Centre director Matt Kunkel said the survey proved workers were starved of earning a living wage.year, so they’re kept out there. We’re sending
“Farm managers are engaging in rampant wage theft and outright abuse,” he said. “Many are also responsible for injuries sustained by workers, along with discrimination, bullying,, and harassment. “This is a shameful, inhumane, and blatantly racist migrant farmworkers on whom we depend for so much of our food – and who pay their taxes in this country.
“We are demanding theundertake a range of urgent measures to address this catastrophic situation.” Mr. Morey said he was frustrated by the standard narrative shared by commentators and politicians who implied unemployed Australians was lazy and should go to the regions to pick fruit.
“People who have been out there tell their friends and families what’s happened to them — you workin a 9-12 hour shift not making the minimum pay rate, you’ve been exploited, you’ve been abused or assaulted,” he said. “All these stories come through, so why would you go and do a job where you know you will get underpaid?”