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.’’
Police are asking for information about an assault in Shepparton that left a man with serious facial injuries and broken bones last month.
The 2014 Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival has been hailed a huge success by organisers and participants alike.
The fifth annual King Billy Retreat Open Garden Party will be held at Rushworth on Saturday and Sunday, October 25-26, from 10 am to 4 pm.
Campaspe Shire councillors boycotted this week’s meeting because of concerns of abuse and bullying.
St Joseph’s Primary School students took part in an extended after-school stay.
Accusations of bullying, disrespect and dangerous conduct.
A great day brought big numbers to Station St in Seymour.
Finley's Mark Whiley has been traded from the GWS Giants to Carlton - the club he has supported all his life.
Nominations are being sought for the annual Axedale CWA community youth award.
Access to Ulupna Island has been blocked at key points, leaving local residents and businesses rallying for a re-opening in a bid to save tourism dollars.
Deniliquin McDonald's raised more than $1300 for McHappy Day on Saturday.
Up to14 new full-time jobs will be created at Pactum Dairy Group in Shepparton, with the company set to embark on an $18million expansion at its factory.
Alma Nungarrayi Granites is the most successful of the Warlukurlangu artists who still live at Yuendumu and enjoys teaching children about aboriginal culture and art.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
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.