October 20, 2016 8:54 am

Minister clarifies pay for seasonal workers

Fijian workers deployed for seasonal work in Australia and New Zealand are paid on a piece rate and receive weekly pay according to the level of their productivity. This was revealed by the Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Hon. Jone Usamate during his consultation with villagers from Nakawaga, Tikina Mali on Mali Island. […]

Fijian workers deployed for seasonal work in Australia and New Zealand are paid on a piece rate and receive weekly pay according to the level of their productivity.

Minister for Employment Hon. Jone Usamate conducts seasonal work public consultations with Ligau villagers at Kia Island.
Minister for Employment Hon. Jone Usamate conducts seasonal work public consultations with Ligau villagers at Kia Island.

This was revealed by the Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Hon. Jone Usamate during his consultation with villagers from Nakawaga, Tikina Mali on Mali Island.

“A piece rate is determined according to the type of fruit picked, the number of bins filled or pruning done by a worker,” Mr Usamate said.

“In simple terms, the more bins filled or pruning done by a worker, the more money the worker will receive.”

The Minister stated workers must ensure to be at work every day to receive better pay packages at the end of the week as there are also deductions that will be made by the employer on a weekly basis.

“Weekly deductions are basically made for rent, transportation, health insurance cover and tax which are applicable to all seasonal workers.”

The Minister highlighted that every worker must focus on their work and understand that they need to be effective, efficient and productive in performing their work for a better pay package.

He added that the first year of work is usually the learning year, given that workers will be new to all the fruits and method of husbandry required by each fruit tree. Thus workers should be expecting to save a lot of money in the first year.

The Minister stated that first year workers under the New Zealand Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) work scheme are expected to save approximately $NZ5,000 to $NZ10,000 within their seven months contract period and $AUD5,000 to $AUD12,000 for Australia SWP workers for the six months period.

“The amount of savings by each worker should rise from the second year of their work as they become experienced and competent.”

Meanwhile, Minister Usamate also stressed the importance of being physically fit as it is required under the under the recruitment and selection criteria.

“All potential workers wishing to be deployed for seasonal work must undertake the required medical assessment and physical fitness test.”

“Those that successfully complete these requirements will be placed in the Tikina Work Ready pool,” he said.

He added that the need for these assessments and fitness tests is to secure healthy and hardworking workers for seasonal work in the agriculture farming industries since farm work requires a lot of manpower.