The United Workers Union (UWU) strongly supports the strategy report recommendation for the Government to regularise the visas of undocumented AgriFood workers.
“Visa insecurity fuels exploitation in the horticulture industry, which makes it harder to attract and retain all types of workers. Visa regularisation is fundamental to the industry beginning a new way forward, with a level playing field and higher wage floor for everyone. An industry that values all workers on farms, and ensures our fruit and vegetables are picked on time and delivered to supermarket shelves,” said UWU Farm Industry Director Jannette Armstrong.
“We call on the Federal Government to listen to its committee and resolve the visa status of farm workers who have picked our fresh produce throughout climate emergencies and now a pandemic. The people who keep our horticulture industry afloat.
“If the government is serious about making sure farm jobs are good jobs, they will adopt this recommendation.
“The Union looks forward to engaging further with government on the co-design and delivery of this and many other recommendations coming from the report.
“We want to see fair solutions to deal with jobs and visa insecurity; systemic exploitation, wage theft, and unsafe work places; low wages and lack of recognition for essential workers; and poor housing, transport, and lack of other supporting infrastructures in regional areas,” Ms Armstrong said.
The United Workers Union’s submission to the committee included stories of wage theft, abuse, poor housing and unsafe working conditions and involved thousands of farm workers across the country.
“Without a clear and safe pathway to visa security, dodgy contractors and employers will continue to operate business models based on exploitation,” Ms Armstrong said.
UWU Farm Industry Director Jannette Armstrong is based in Hobart, Tasmania and available for interviews.
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