Australian Fair Work Commission rules that farm workers on piece rate entitled to minimum wage
Friday, November 5, 2021
Australia's determined Tuesday farm workers being paid for each "piece" of fruit and vegetable harvested under a are required to be paid the minimum rate for casual workers under the Horticulture Award, or 25.41 per hour.
In their ruling, the Commission unanimously "expressed the view that the existing pieceworker provisions in the Horticulture Award are not fit for purpose", and determined "the insertion of a minimum wage floor in clause 15.2 [of the Horticulture Award] is necessary to ensure that the Horticulture Award achieves the minimum wages objective". Clause 15.2 is the section of the Horticulture Award which concerns the rate of pay for piece rate workers.
AWU secretary Dan Walton told ABC News after the ruling, "Too many farmers have been able to manipulate the piece rate system to establish pay and conditions far beneath Australian standards. Now it will be easy for workers — even if they don't have good English language skills or Australian connections — to understand if they're being ripped off." Walton also declared the ruling was "among the great victories of our union's 135-year history".
This stance was opposed by several other organisations, including The Australian Fresh Produce Alliance, Tasmania, Lucaston Park Orchards, Payne’s Farm Contracting, and the (NFF), according to the Commission, with ABC News reporting the NFF specifically was against the ruling on the grounds farmers could go out of business as a result, and that piece work was beneficial for productivity., Fruit Growers
- Kath Sullivan. "Fair Work rules every farm worker on every farm entitled to take home a minimum rate of pay" — , November 4, 2021
- "Summary of Decision – 3 November 2021" — , November 3, 2021 (PDF)