The Fair Work Ombudsman is preparing to launch an investigation into claims backpackers employed as fruit pickers in one of the country's biggest food producing regions are being underpaid by labour hire contractors and forced to live in illegal budget accommodation.What horrible people these company owners are.
The investigation will focus on the Queensland city of Bundaberg where, each year, thousands of travellers spend at least 88 days working on farms along the harvest trail in order to extend their 417 working holiday visas.
Taiwanese backpacker Claire, who goes by her Australian nickname, moved to the city last June to work on a tomato farm.
Speaking to 7.30, Claire claimed to have been significantly underpaid, forced to sleep in a living room with 25 other backpackers, mostly from Korea, and denied rest breaks despite working all day beneath the sun without shelter.
"We just got $7 a day and we needed to spend maybe six hours a day picking tomatoes," she said.
The wage was paid in cash by a labour hire contractor who then charged Claire $125 rent each week to sleep on a mattress on the floor.
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