The Australian Workers’ Union is now counting down the days until April 28 when the new hourly minimum rate for fruit pickers will come into force
Last November, the AWU secured an historic industrial win for fruit pickers by successfully arguing the Horticulture Award should be altered to ensure every worker is entitled to take home the minimum casual rate of pay, currently $25.41.
The Fair Work Commission has now announced the guaranteed hourly rate will come into force on April 28 and will be calculated daily as recommended by the AWU, and not per pay period as advocated by the farmers’ lobby.
“It’s fantastic that from April 28 fruit pickers will get some certainty about how much they should be legally paid for their labour – the union is counting the days,” said AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton.
“For too long the farmers’ lobby has seen fruit pickers as somehow beneath the usual standards offered to Australian workers. But the hard work of pickers deserves the same minimum wage dignity afforded to everyone else.
“We are grateful the Commission has ruled hourly rate earnings must be calculated daily. One of the great advantages of last year’s historic ruling was the clarity it provided. Fruit pickers – who often have limited English and information about Australian laws – will now find it easy to assess if they are being ripped off by their employer.
“Now at the end of each day every picker should be assured that their work netted at least $25.41 an hour. If not, their employer is stealing from them and breaking the law.
“It is deeply disappointing that the farmers’ lobby saw fit to try and obfuscate the simplicity of the system by arguing that the calculation should be made per pay period. We are glad they were not successful.
“This ruling is a huge advance for this industry and for all the farmers who are already doing the right thing.”
If you’re a fruit or veggie picker and you have concerns about your worksite, or what you should be paid, join your union today to get support to reclaim your rights at work.