Fruit Growers Tasmania Predicts Labor Shortage for This Season’s Harvest May Be Tough | Avocado

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Tasmanian fruit growers face another battle this season to find enough workers to pick their fruit, a challenge made worse by Fair Work Australia’s latest base wage decision, the top growers body has said. Fruit Growers Tasmania chief executive Peter Cornish said the worker shortage is expected to be worse than last year, given the continued glut of backpackers and border closures until December, which would affect the start of the season. He said local pickers are always welcome to join the season. “We have thought for some time that this is going to be a more difficult year than last year,” said Mr. Cornish. “We have around 8,000 positions and need around 10,000 people to fill those jobs. Normally 3,500 of those would be filled by working vacationers … more difficult.” He said the shortage would also be affected by the Fair Work Commission ruling that pickers are now to be paid a base wage of $ 25.41 an hour, with fewer locals able to work. “We had a sizeable cohort of people who worked happily and were paid by the piece, who chose at their own pace, who were young or old. Locals who want to work but not necessarily full time, who wanted to work without the discipline of hours, micro-management, clocking in and out, ”said Mr. Cornish. “Those they call less productive workers will now effectively be excluded from the workforce … Those people who cannot achieve that level of producer productivity can afford to pay them at $ 25.41 an hour. We’re still in the pandemic, we were hoping it wouldn’t be introduced this season. “

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