NUW targets supermarkets to combat criminal exploitation of migrant workers in Australia's food industry
The National Union of Workers (NUW) is holding Australia's largest supermarket chains accountable for human rights abuses in their supply chains. The Fair Food Australia campaign calls for union access to farms and factories to ensure compliance with labour standards and adequate worker protection. The campaign follows the publication of a report by the Fair Work Ombudsman documenting criminal exploitation of migrant workers by labour contractors supplying Baiada, Australia's largest poultry processor.
The investigation, found systematic underpayment of wages, excessive hours of work and high rents for overcrowded and unsafe worker accommodation. Workers were fraudulently classified as "independent contractors" and money moved through a complex chain of contractors and subcontractors.
The abuses are not limited to poultry. In a recent Australian television documentary the NUW and community activists uncovered criminal gangs of labour contractors operating on farms and factories around the country producing for major supermarket chains.