Farmers seeking staff for the new milking season risk being named and shamed on social media if the money being offered in their job advertisement is below the minimum wage.
Outgoing Waikato Federated farmers dairy chairman Craig Littin revealed that trade unions were picking apart farm jobs placed on Fonterra’s Farm Source website.
Littin told farmers at the group’s annual meeting that unions were doing simple calculations around listed salary, hours worked and days off and posting them on social media.
“It’s painting our industry in a really bad light,” he said.
He urged farmers to take into consideration the total job package and think really hard about how the advertisement was perceived. He reminded the farmers to keep accurate time and wage records to ensure staff never fall under the minimum wage.
Littin said it was too easy for Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly to look online at the vacancies and then post any ads that were offering poor or illegal wages on her Twitter account.
Kelly was unapologetic with her stance. Most of the jobs on Farm Source were without remuneration but those that put detail of the jobs in were often paying below the minimum wage for the number of hours worked.
“There are heaps of jobs on there with hours that were far too dangerous and too long,” Kelly said.
These included jobs where workers were expected to work up to 80 hours a week, which Kelly called “crazy”.
“Some of them are paying $11-12 an hour and all I do is tweet them.”
That’s quite smart work by the CTU. A few tweets, and you’re having an impact.
However important to note that sometimes a job will come with accommodation, and that is factored into the pay, which may mean the gross rate is higher than that advertised.
Waikato Federated Farmers provincial president Chris Lewis said it was hard to disagree with some of Kelly’s claims made on social media, particularly when some of the ads looking for a manager were only paying $18 an hour.
“If you employ a manager at $18 an hour, don’t whinge to the Feds about the performance. A good manager should be getting $30 an hour.”
Yep. Pay peanuts, get monkeys.