HELPING GROWERS ensure workers are treated fairly on fruit and vegetable farms will be the focus at a series of free workshops and farm visits in the Top End.
Peak horticulture representation body Growcom will host Getting Fair Work Compliant on Farm workshops from 11am to 3pm in Katherine on August 15 and Darwin on August 17 as part of the national Fair Farms Initiative.
The workshops, to be delivered by Growcom’s Annabel Hutch and horticulture workplace relations specialist, Donna Mogg, will give growers the opportunity to ‘stress test’ their employment practices against the requirements of the Fair Work Act.
Growcom will also arrange farm visits to work through its Hort360 Workplace Relations module — a step towards gaining Freshcare certification for Fair Employment — with interested growers.
This new certification is being developed through the Fair Farms Initiative and will be available to industry members by mid-2018.
Growcom Chief Advocate, Rachel Mackenzie, urged growers to participate in the workshops, which will be done in conjunction with the NT Farmers Association and the Australian Mango Industry Association.
“This is an opportunity for growers to get ideas for managing tricky issues like poor performance, inappropriate conduct, disputes, or termination of employment,” she said.
“Growers can also to get tips for dealing with labour hire contractors and avoiding claims against their business, and there will be discussion of issues raised by the Fair Work Ombudsman which need to be addressed in horticulture businesses.
“As an industry we are taking proactive steps like our national Fair Farm’s Initiative to help growers comply with workplace legislation and to give good growers a way to show their compliance through certification.”
The Fair Farms Initiative is supported by the Fair Work Ombudsman through the Community Engagement Grants Program.