Tasmanian fruit pickers rescued from Samoa, Vanuatu and PNG alleged “modern slavery”

PHOTO: PINA

Tasmanian fruit pickers have been rescued from a company that has been treating them as ‘modern slaves’, unions say.

The Australian federal government has revoked the business license of Linx Employment, leading to new job opportunities being offered to Pacific Islander pickers and farm workers in multiple states, including Tasmania.

The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations is currently meeting with over 200 Linx workers across the country to assist them in finding ongoing employment and accommodation.

Workers have made serious claims of mistreatment, including visa seizure, refusal to provide pay slips, bullying and threats from management.

AWU National Secretary Paul Farrow says Linx’s business model amounts to modern slavery.

“If you go to the Australian Federal Police website and look at the checklist for modern slavery you will find these workers tick a lot of the boxes,” says AWU National Secretary Paul Farrow.

“Let me be clear, if you treat workers like slaves, the AWU is coming after you.”

The union claims many have been stranded without employment and income for months.

“Our members at Linx are hardworking and willing to work, but many have been weeks or months without work and unlike other workers they cannot simply go to another employer.”

“When local farmers have approached Linx with work for our members, Linx have blocked them.” Diplomats from Samoa, Vanuatu and PNG have also been informed of developments at Linx.

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