Bosses exploiting foreign workers

Some Aussie bosses are refusing to hire locals, choosing instead to exploit foreign workers on temporary visas by paying them a pittance.

Unhappy foreign workers, who work on a small strawberry farm north of Queensland, have been posting warnings online "in the hope that there will be no new victims".

You can view the full interview here.

The Wamuran strawberry farm that's getting plenty of negative attention is run by Tony Tran and his wife May, employing seasonal labourers on working holiday visas.

According to the disgruntled workers on their farm Tran only pays them $0.90 for a kilogram of strawberries.

By law the minimum any Australian adult worker can earn is $16.37 per hour, so to make that minimum hourly rate, workers will have to pick roughly 18kg or 1000 strawberries every hour.

Foreign workers and backpackers contribute about $3 billion each year to the nation's economy. They often get jobs ahead of Australians because they are more vulnerable, don't know their rights, and therefore making them a cheaper form of labour.

They're also often paid in cash, with no tax or superannuation.

The Fair Work Ombudsman office investigates about one complaint every week.

"We'd be wanting to have a very close look at the strawberry farm arrangement because if the workers have been paid that amount, then it's a long way from a fair day's work for a fair day's pay," Natalie James from the Fair Work Ombudsman's office said.

The Tran couple are claiming their workers have all signed contracts agreeing to their pay rates.

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  • Matheus Marques
    commented 2016-04-24 07:30:59 +1000
    Very good article, everyone should read very carefully !! Testomaster de Fernanda Haten
  • Calypso Ogygia
    commented 2014-05-14 22:09:46 +1000
    Hi thank you very much for this article! I am Backpacker, from Germany. Had bad experience on tomatoes farm in Shepparton, you have to live in disgusting dirty house otherwise you can’t work. 40 degree outside and no air conditioner, you can’ t even breath in the “house” you cant lock any door, and there are about 20 people. farmer told me i have work next day and would work every day, it was not true. after three days I left because he told me ecery day I will work next day. they hire to many people just to stay in the caravan and pay rent, 120 dollar rent in advance, but you still dont work, and 120 dollars deposit, if superwisor doesnt like you, many people didnt get deposit back! and if you stay he gives you every two weeks your salary cash, if you leave he telks you he will send it to your account, but you will be never get paid! that is what happens in Shepparton VIC!