Conditions at dairy under fire

Ken Utting, HARVEY-WAROONA REPORTER
Conditions at dairy under fire

Claims Harvey Fresh workers are underpaid, working long hours with no overtime or penalty rates and working in horrific conditions have been refuted by the company.

United Voice WA, on behalf of the workers, has released a list of complaints saying many workers are doing up to 13-hour shifts with no overtime pay or breaks and they are getting paid 30 per cent less than other dairy workers.

Assistant secretary Pat O’Donnell said the workers were exhausted and always getting sick.

“They rarely get breaks and one staff member eats lunch in the bathroom, because they are so busy cleaning,” he said.

“Paramalat promised to support this community but we are seeing workers who can barely make ends meet and have no family time.

“They work over 13 hours a day, six days a week, with no overtime or penalty rates.

“For the first time an enterprise bargaining committee has been established by workers to gain better conditions, but so far an EBA offer has been rejected by Parmalat.”

Harvey Fresh general manager Paul Lorimer said the company paid its workers on an hourly rate in line with an agreed workplace collective agreement – at a rate above the minimum wage.

“If our employees work more than the standard working week, for example when we are processing the spring flush of milk, they are paid for those extra hours, ” Mr Lorimer said.

“Harvey Fresh is continuing to ensure it is an employer of choice, for example, in late September we improved workers’ pay with a wage increase and the introduction of afternoon and night shift allowances.

“Since its acquisition of Harvey Fresh, Parmalat has worked in a very collaborative way with all staff and unions and we will continue to work with them in that manner into the future.

“Harvey Fresh is proud to be part of the local Harvey community and continues to be an important employer for the region.”

The Reporter has been told management was not aware of employees having to eat lunch in the bathroom.

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