ABC Lateline : Company ordered to pay backpay

A labour hire company that short-changed foreign poultry workers have been ordered to back-pay thousands of dollars in wages, according to – following a Lateline investigation.

Last year this program revealed workers on 417 working holiday visas had been paid only half the legal minimum by the contractor at the Baiada chicken factory at Beresfield in the NSW Hunter Valley.

The workers were employed by a company called Pham Poultry.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has found 10 employees from Hong Kong and Taiwan were underpaid a total of $20,000.

The meatworkers’ union has welcomed the result, but says many more workers have also been ripped off.

GRANT COURTNEY, AUST. MEAT INDUSTRY EMPLOYEES UNION: We’ve got 30 workers that are chasing $434,000. There’s a range of other workers that are claiming underpayments at the moment. Pham Poultry, to my understanding, has gone recently into liquidation, which means those workers chasing back money, it’s virtually going to be pointless them chasing it now because the company has been liquidated and it has no assets.

Baiada says the Ombudsman’s investigation found its operations fully comply with the Fair Work Act. It says it will dump any contractors found to breach workplace laws.

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