A response from Flavorite to consumer enquires on the Four Corners report which aired on 4th May 2015
With the recent Four Corners report exposing poor conditions for farm workers on 417 visas across Australia, Flavorite Hydroponic Tomatoes Pty Ltd would like to take this opportunity to clarify the working conditions we provide for our staff. Although we were not a focus of the program we believe it is timely to notify the public of our ethics and commitments.
Firstly, the program revealed workers at other farms had been paid wages as low as $3.95 an hour. Unlike some in the industry, Flavorite has and always will pay national award wages or higher. In fact, on 28 April 2015, Flavorite passed a routine audit by the Fair Work Ombudsman on minimum entitlements with flying colours. The ‘Harvest Trail’ Audit found, after private discussions with our employees, that Flavorite had not contravened any of the Commonwealth workplace laws, in particular the Horticulture Award 2010.
In addition to providing fair wages, Flavorite is committed to ensuring that the unethical practices uncovered by Four Corners, such as 22 hour shifts, poor working conditions and worker harassment, are prohibited on our premises.
Flavorite has several policies in place to prevent worker exploitation and maintain high standards, including the following:
- Employing Australian residents and people that have the legal right to work in Australia.
- Undertaking checks with the Department of Immigration on all new employees prior to commencement to confirm their right to work in Australia.
- Undertaking monthly audits of Visa holders to confirm continued rights to work in Australia.
- Employing workers principally under the Horticulture Award 2010 and paying the Level 1 hourly pay rate or higher.
- In addition to hourly paid wages, in some positions we provide an incentive bonus based on the achievement of established KPIs.
- Not suppling any form of accommodation, meals or similar benefits to employees.
- All labour on our farms are employees and recruited by our in-house Human Resources Department. We do not hire through a third party or contractor. The exception to this is the occasional forklift driver sourced through a locally based reputable recruitment company.
It is these policies and procedures that help us uphold some of the highest standards of agricultural working conditions in the country. We are proud to have developed and maintained a successful produce business supplying Australia’s largest retailers and local greengrocers while at the same time championing the safety and welfare of our employees. As a proudly Australian family owned and operated business, our people are one of the cornerstones to our long term success therefore their wellbeing is critical to our family culture.
Although 90% of the industry conforms to the regulations, further work must be done to bring this rate to 100%.