Industry feedback to inform piecework defenceIndustry Advocacy
The Australian Workers Union (AWU) has made an application to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to change the Horticulture Award to install a ‘floor’ on piecework arrangements, so that the worker must earn at least the minimum hourly rate (presently $24.36 for casuals); and require employers to keep a record of the pieceworker’s hours as a “time and wages” record.
The NFF is contesting this application and is calling on growers to provide further information to inform the FWC’s consideration of the application. In particular the NFF is seeking statements from growers and workers that demonstrate the importance of piecework rates to the farm businesses’ and individual workers’ financial returns. The NFF is also seeking general economic data regarding the use of piece rates by horticultural industries.
If you use piece rates and are concerned about the AWU’s application, please contact Ben Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 02 6269 5666 to discuss.
The NFF’s submission, including any grower statements, must be submitted by 14 May 2021 and the FWC is scheduled to hear the matter 6-8 July 2021.
AWU takes fight over fruit pickers pay to Fair Work Commission (ABC, 16 Dec 2020)
Seasonal farm workers employed on apple and pear orchards are essential to the industry and their contributions are highly valued by growers. Without them the industry would not have enough workers to pick and pack fruit. It is therefore very important that there are enough seasonal farm workers and that they are treated and paid fairly.
Know your responsibilities as an employer – APAL provides a range of background information, including toolkits on Looking after workers on its website.