Thursday, 3 March 2016
It would appear that a modern-day version of slavey is flourishing in a quiet corner of this country.
ABC News, 26 February 2016:
A group of Pacific islanders are being paid less than $10 a week after deductions to pick fruit and vegetables on Australian farms by a company that sponsored their visas under a federally-run worker program.
The workers came to Australia in January as part of the Department of Employment's Seasonal Worker Program.
The group of 20 from Fiji, and others from Tonga, were taken to the caravan park in Merrigum, in the food bowl district of northern Victoria.
Most of the workers are taken by bus every morning to nearby tomato and apple farms.
They are here on 416 visas after signing contracts with AFS Contracting Pty Ltd, based in Shepparton.
Isikeli Fifita, one of the workers from Tonga, said after deductions — which included super, rent, health insurance, tax and transport — his total net pay was $9.96 for one week.
"I feel sad because there's no money to send to my family in Tonga," Mr Fifita said.
Petero Kanawabu said he expected long hours and hard work when he signed on to come to Australia under the program.
But said he, and many others in his group from Fiji, had been shocked by their payslips.
"I thought that we would come here and do a job, maybe save some money," Mr Kanawabu said.
"Even my mum cried when I told her my first payslip. I don't know what to do now."…..
Read the rest of the article here.