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Fighting For Australian Workers Who Have Had Their Wages Stolen By Their Boss
$1 Million In Wages Recovered For Fruit & Vegetable Pickers

$1 million in wages recovered for fruit & vegetable pickers

More than $1 million in stolen wages has been recovered for 2,500 fruit and vegetable pickers.

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s Harvest Trail Inquiry involved 638 wage theft investigations over the past five years.

The regulator targeted 444 growers and 194 labour hire contractors connected with the harvesting of various crops.

$1 million in wages recovered

Fair Work took eight employers to court accusing them of serious breaches of the Fair Work Act.

Six of those matters resulted in over $500,000 in penalties.

Inspectors also issued:

  • 150 formal cautions;
  • 132 infringement notices; in addition to
  • 13 Compliance Notices.

The regulator also entered into seven Enforceable Undertakings.

Furthermore, inspectors found over half of audited businesses breached workplace laws, including deliberate and significant wage theft.

They also discovered widespread falsification of records, failure to provide pay slips.

Harvest Trail Fair Work Ombudsman $1 million in wages recovered for fruit and vegetable pickers wage theft underpayments criminal penaltiesNEXT READ  Wage theft inquiry

“Wage theft inquiry told dodgy employers should be jailed”

Migrant workers ‘ripe’ for exploitation

Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan said migrant workers are commonly employed in the fruit and vegetable picking industry.

“Migrant workers are vulnerable workers, because they often have language barriers and many do not understand their workplace rights,” he said.

“That makes them ripe for exploitation.”

Mr Heffernan once again called on governments to make wage theft a crime.

“Currently, it is all too easy for employers to steal wages from their workers,” he said.

“Until we start locking up dodgy bosses, they will continue to underpay their staff and get away with it.”

Fair Work to monitor Harvest trail

Meanwhile, Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the regulator will continue to monitor harvest trail employers.

“Growers and labour hire operators can expect to face further action if they do not comply with Australia’s workplace laws,” Ms Parker said.

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