Rough calculations from Vanuatu worker’s payslips show that the Australian Recruitment agency Powerpac will take nearly 1 million vatus per worker in the seasonal program per working session.
The payslips do prove that within an 8 to 12 months period, Powerpac is expected to collect a million vatu from deductions on workers’ salaries.
Workers with Powerpac also had to live through 5 months of uncertainty as working conditions were not stable and the Australian Agency kept cutting wages and hours on the farms.
Workers with Powerpac say the work conditions differ from what was promised and agreed.
“We have families back in Vanuatu and to keep working for a $100 a week is not acceptable as we did not agree to this,” says one worker from Mele Village.
“They cut wages and accommodation cost from our salaries and even transport alone cost $70 per worker in a week which is also deducted.”
Powerpac workers have signed an agreement through Witnol Benko in Port Vila but were never given an opportunity to read through the contract content.
A lot of the workers say that the Christmas and New Year period was heartbreaking as they were not able to send money back to their children.
The deductions are a worry as it shows agencies may recruit from the Pacific without real regard for workers’ welfare or needs but instead they recruit to take advantage and make a profit.
YTS News will run a complete follow-up story to this in the coming week.