‘This is not a job for cry babies’
THE owner of a NSW fruitpicking farm that has been slammed after a former worker posted a bizarre set of rules on social media claims the list is nearly 20 years old.
The note, which was posted to a popular Sydney backpacker Facebook group but has since been deleted, warns workers must "walk fast at all times" and that "cry babies" and people who "suffer with depression" are not welcome.
No holidays are allowed between September 1 to February 1, with the exception of public holidays over the Christmas and New Year period.
"This is not a job for the weak, cry babies, or those with back problems or the unfit (SLOW MOVERS) and certainly not for those that suffer with depression and certainly not for whingers," the note reads.
"Whinge meaning is to [sic], whine, moan, complain, whimper, go on about, bleat, bellyache, gripe! We are not a kindergarten! We have a job to do and we must get it done to perfection.
"No rough work or laziness will be tolerated."
Workers are also informed that mobile phones are not allowed and must be "left in the tearoom in your bag". "If you are found with a mobile phone in the workplace without permission your employment will be terminated," it said.
"The only mobile phones allowed in the workplace are those used by management and supervisor. You must not be seen packing up before the knock off alarm."
The note also says that any appointments must be made after working hours. "This is easy work but you need a high level of energy, you won't need to work out at the gym after work," it said.
According to the note, workers must be "energetic, a fast mover (walk fast at all times) look efficient even if you are not", "honest and reliable", "prepared to work from August through to end of January, with no time off other than public holidays" and "able to wear laytex [sic] gloves which we supply, we don't supply cotton gloves!".
They must also be "ready to start work at start time, this changes due to light conditions", with 6am starts in summer and 7:30am starts in winter for four eight-hour days and one six-hour day to make a 38-hour week.
"All staff must carry in their bags at all times a clean shirt, hat, Panadol, the snips you have been supplied with DO NOT leave these at home, females must carry their own sanitary needs at all times," the note said.
Users on Facebook were outraged. "Bunch of redneck bastards!" wrote one commenter. "F*** me, better treatment at the Shawshank," wrote another.
One person said the "only thing that's missing is 'must be a robot'", while another said the rules "just make ya laugh that someone actually though all that up".
Speaking to news.com.au, the owner of the farm said it was "something written some years back because we had such a lot of problems with people starting here and they just whinged and complained".
"That's not current," she said. "It goes back to when we first started out 17 years ago. The rules have changed a lot [since then]. When I first started out I was very green, I'd never employed anybody.
"Somebody's obviously had it all this time and only put it up now. I don't give anything to like that to people, they just get their tax declaration and the Fair Work Australia sheet."
The owner said she had never had any issues with Fair Work. She added that it was the Australians, not the backpackers, whose griping caused her to make the rules in the first place.
She said her main core of workers now were Indians and other non-English speakers, some of whom were on refugee visas.
"We have 60 people at this time of year but now you just can't get Australians to work here," she said. "It's very difficult to get people to work in horticulture here. There's just nobody around, I've come to the conclusion that the young people [in the area] just won't work."
The owner of the farm, which news.com.au has not named, said she feared the Facebook post could ruin her business if the supermarket she supplied "got wind" of it. "There will be hell to pay," she said.
Fruit picking is popular among backpackers on working holiday visas, who are required to complete three months' work in regional areas to apply for a second year.
Backpackers on working holiday visas account for the highest level of pay disputes raised with the Fair Work Ombudsman, with the majority of requests for assistance coming from fruit and vegetable pickers and packers working in Queensland and NSW.