Campaign to Recoup Unpaid Wages

seasonal workers

ACRATH is seeking your support for 22 men from Vanuatu who were exploited in Australia in 2014 while working under the Seasonal Workers Programme (SWP), a programme that is part of Australia’s aid program in the Pacific and is administered by the Department of Employment on behalf of the Federal Government. The men worked hard to earn money for their poor struggling families. Instead they became victims of labour exploitation on our Australian farms.

For seven weeks they worked tirelessly on six farms sometimes receiving only one meal a day. When they were not paid their salaries, they asked the director of the labour hire firm for their wages. He threatened to refer them to the police and have them deported.

March 24th 2020 will be the 3rd anniversary of the judgement made by Judge Jarrett in favour of the Fair Work Ombudsman and the vulnerable workers. The labour hire firm and its director were ordered by the Federal Court of Australia to repay the workers $77,649 in unpaid salaries and were fined $227,000 for violating the Fair Work Act. This case was not further investigated by the police as a potential case of forced labour under the Human trafficking legislation. Now, six years after arriving in Australia, the men have not received any money.

ACRATH believes that as the men were exploited while working under an Australian aid programme, Australia has a moral responsibility to see that the men are paid. ACRATH is therefore requesting that an ex-gratia payment totalling $77,649 be made to 22 seasonal workers from Vanuatu. A letter has been sent to the Prime Minister regarding this request. More details can be found here.

Join the Campaign – using the ACRATH letter as a guide please write to Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressing your concern and requesting that he authorize the ex gratia payment. A copy of the ACRATH letter can be found here. (Image: