Fair Work Ombudsman planning unannounced visits to properties in the Goulburn Valley.May 24, 2014 3:04am
Goulburn Valley pear and apple orchards will be the target of Fair Work Ombudsman checks during the next few weeks as part of its ongoing focus on seasonal workers.
Fair Work inspectors are planning unannounced visits to properties in three states to speak with growers and labour hire contractors about their obligations under federal workplace laws. Seasonal workers engaged to pick and pack the fruit will also be encouraged to ask any questions they have about their pay and conditions.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said the main purpose of the visits was to increase awareness among orchardists and labour hire contractors of workplace laws.
But inspectors would also be looking for breaches.
‘‘We can tell a lot about an employer’s level of compliance by talking to them and their workers, but we’ll look at time-and-wages records if we need to get a clearer picture,’’ Ms James said.
The Fair Work Ombudsman conducted an information session for Goulburn Valley employers this month.
Ms James said the agency continued to receive complaints from seasonal harvest workers that they were underpaid — and many were substantiated.
‘‘Many fruitpickers are overseas workers who may be vulnerable if they’re not fully aware of their entitlements or reluctant to complain, so it’s important we are proactive about ensuring their rights are protected and that their employers are fullyaware of the law,’’ she said.
Common issues of non-compliance in the apple and pear industry included underpayment of hourly rates, a lack of written agreements for piece-work or the provision of detailed pay slips.
Ms James said Fair Work inspectors would also return to orchards during next year’s harvest to check employers were continuing to meet workplace obligations.
‘‘We want to ensure employers understand and meet their workplace obligations and we’re also seeking information about industry factors that influence compliance levels,’’ she said.
‘‘This knowledge will help us to better target our education and campaign activities, particularly in relation to the overseas workers employed in this sector.’’
Goulburn Valley Football League under-18 interleague squad is packed with talent and will give coaching staff headaches when it comes to trimming players.
The Yarrawonga Pigeons scored a 20 point victory over the Myrtleford Saints at the JC Lowe Oval in Yarrawonga on Saturday.
The Aboriginal and wider community is mourning the death of revered Bangerang Aboriginal elder, Uncle John ‘‘Sandy’’ Atkinson.
A WORKING group has been formed to tackle Moama’s housing problems.
ROCHESTER’S mums and bubs fitness class is only in its third week but it has already doubled its enrolment numbers, blowing organisers’ expectations out of the water.
Tongala Football Club lost to Rumbalara in the Murray Netball League on Saturday by 14 points.
Four generations of Comi girls this Mother's Day
Berrigan Shire councillor Daryll Morris says he has been sickened by some of the vitriol and personal attacks to surface since the council’s proposal to redevelop Finley’s Memorial Hall and School of Arts site was revealed in October last year.
DESPITE criticism from within the community over a perceived lack of use, the O’Keefe Rail Trail has enjoyed good traffic over the past couple of weeks, with more to come.
Members of a Cobram social group have encouraged women to become a part of community groups, committees and boards.
School fundraises for student with leukaemia.
ix industry and local government representatives, five water services committee members and two community members have been appointed to the new Connections Stakeholder Consultative Committee.
The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.
Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.