Vanuatu seasonal workers | Loop Vanuatu
 

Vanuatu seasonal workers

Workers from Vanuatu back on Bundaberg farms, but others risk deportation for absconding

Last month Vanuatu's High Commissioner to Australia revealed details about an employment dispute involving 51 workers who were no longer employed under the federal seasonal worker program (SWP).

It is understood many of them absconded from their employer in Bundaberg in September in search of better pay and work conditions and had been living in various backpacker hostels until recently.

A spokesperson from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment said some had rejoined the SWP with an approved employer based in Childers.

154 Ni-Vanuatu seasonal workers deployed throughout Western Australia

The seasonal workers have been sent to 10 farms across the State, to work in destinations including Gingin, Pinjarra, Myalup, Harvey, Mt Barker, Pemberton, Manjimup, Katanning and Narrogin.

Farm Weekly reports testing for COVID-19 was completed by the WA Department of Health on day two and 12 of the quarantine period, with all Ni-Vanuatu nationals testing negative.

Thirty of the workers have been recruited under the Pacific Labour Scheme and will be work in Australia for up to three years.

154 Ni-Vanuatu seasonal workers deployed throughout Western Australia

The seasonal workers have been sent to 10 farms across the State, to work in destinations including Gingin, Pinjarra, Myalup, Harvey, Mt Barker, Pemberton, Manjimup, Katanning and Narrogin.

Farm Weekly reports testing for COVID-19 was completed by the WA Department of Health on day two and 12 of the quarantine period, with all Ni-Vanuatu nationals testing negative.

Thirty of the workers have been recruited under the Pacific Labour Scheme and will be work in Australia for up to three years.

Ni-Vanuatu workers arrive in Western Australia to combat labour shortages on farms

The usual backpacker workforce is thinning and many locals are turning their back on the work, leaving workers from Pacific Island countries as the only option for some farmers.

Already 154 Ni-Vanuatu workers have arrived to help, including Remo Kalours who is working with 57 others from Vanuatu at a table grape farm 100 kilometres south of Perth.

Mr Kalours said the most challenging part of the job for him was the two weeks he had to spend in hotel quarantine.

"It's very hard for me when I stay inside a hotel for 14 days," he said.

Vanuatu seasonal workers urged to join union

The call by the Vanuatu Workers Union comes as it was announced that 800 seasonal workers will head to Australia in coming weeks.

Discussions were also ongoing over the possibility of more ni-Vanuatu returning to New Zealand for seasonal employment in the new year.

The Union's Secretary-General, Rocky Bule, said around two-thousand seasonal workers were members. However there are several thousand more who aren't.

According to Bule, local agents in Vanuatu tend to discourage the workers from joining unions.

Vanuatu investigates 'substantial' pay and welfare issues of seasonal workers in Queensland

Samson Vilvil Fare has visited farms in Queensland to talk to workers and employers, following reports Pacific Islanders were leaving their employers in the Bundaberg region in search of better pay.

"They didn't have enough working hours in what they were promised to have," Mr Fare said.

"This is one of the main issues … they're not making enough money."

Mr Fare said it was unclear what the consequences were for a worker's visa status if they absconded from an employer.

Ni Vanuatu workers plant over 4000 sunflower seeds in Australia

Frederick James decided to write the words "G'day world from Oz" in huge sunflower letters that could be seen from the sky at Innisfail, south of Cairns.

"I thought I'd like to send a message to the whole world and I thought that's what I'll do," he said.

Mr James enlisted the help of his neighbours and a group of seasonal workers from Vanuatu to plant more than 40,000 sunflower seeds on the property.

"It went completely viral," he said.

Concerns raised over Vanuatu government's proposal to abolish seasonal worker agencies

However, Deputy Prime Minister Ishmael Kalsakau told local media his idea to replace SWP agents will increase government revenue and ensure fairness in recruitment.

The proposal has caused a stir on social media with many seasonal worker agents and workers voicing concern.

Seasonal worker agent Dan Dempsey said that Vanuatu workers have told him they are worried about their future under the proposal.

Vanuatu seasonal workers, students to return home in stages

The Ministry of Health Advisory Committee has set these stages at 640 guests in quarantine at a time.

The ministry and World Health Organisation also continue to work very closely with the Department of Tourism to finalise the Safe Business Operations Guideline and to roll it out to the provinces.

The SBO Guidelines Policy was highlighted at the recent National Business Forum which was a government consultation forum facilitated by the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

     

Vanuatu seasonal workers begin work at Northern Territory mango farms

The seasonal workers are participants in the Australian Federal Government's pilot seasonal worker programme.

ABC News reports the programme aims to get Pacific seasonal workers back on Australian farms during the coronavirus pandemic.

They are helping to fill a labour shortage on Australian farms and are expected to be in the country for at least nine months.

Their job can be gruelling. The workers can spend hours in the hot sun, stripping trees of mangoes.