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Baiada Chicken Factory Workers Claim to be 'Underpaid'

17 October 2013

AUSTRALIA - A company supplying foreign labour to one of Australia's biggest chicken producers has been accused of illegal underpayments and making employees work up to 16 hours a day.

ABC News reports that former and current employees at the Baiada chicken factory near Newcastle say they have been paid half the legal minimum in cash and without any pay slips.

The workers concerned are allegedly supplied to Baiada by labor hire firm Pham Poultry.

The legal minimum for chicken processing for casuals is around A$20 an hour. But the workers claim they were paid a flat rate of A$12.50 an hour for men and A$11.50 an hour for women.

Earlier this year, the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union allegedly complained to Baiada about Pham Poultry.

The union represents 700 workers at the Beresfield plant and estimates there is an extra temporary foreign workforce made up of 300 people.

AMIEU branch secretary Grant Courtney has written to Baiada allegedly complaining that underpaid workers are probably owed A$160,000 a month in backpay.

Pham Poultry director Binh Nguyen is reported to have described the allegations of cut-price wages and excessive hours as rubbish.

According to ABC News, he says his direct employees are paid in line with the industry award.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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