News | Living & Travel
25 Apr 2018 20:27
NZCity News
NZCity CalculatorReturn to NZCity

  • Start Page
  • Personalise
  • Sport
  • Weather
  • Finance
  • Shopping
  • Jobs
  • Horoscopes
  • Lotto Results
  • Photo Gallery
  • Site Gallery
  • TVNow
  • Dating
  • SearchNZ
  • NZSearch
  • RugbyLeague
  • Make Home
  • About NZCity
  • Contact NZCity
  • Your Privacy
  • Advertising
  • Login
  • Join for Free

  •   Home > News > Living & Travel

    Organic farm exploited travellers: ERA

    An organic farm near Christchurch has been investigated for allegedly exploiting travellers who were "volunteering" to work on the property.

    An organic farm near Christchurch could be liable to pay $20,000 to workers after claiming they were "volunteers" on the farm while travelling.

    The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) has found Robinwood Farms breached the rights of workers it claimed were volunteers, following an inspectorate investigation.

    Some "volunteers" worked up to 40 hours a week on the farm in Tai Tapu, which included gardening and cutting firewood, and were given $120 a week, along with board and accommodation.

    But a witness statement provider to the ERA from a worker claims the living conditions were "inhumane", where they slept in a small storage room under the stairs without proper ventilation or a heater.

    The inspectorate was also told food was routinely collected from waste bins at supermarkets before being fed to workers at Robinwood Farms along with spoilt meat.

    While no records were kept on site, sole director Julia Osselton says she had over 1000 people travel through her business every year.

    "Rather than enjoying a genuine volunteer experience, these people were exploited as free labour for the profit of Ms Osselton's businesses," labour inspectorate national manager Stu Lumsden said.

    "While Ms Osselton claimed that these workers were 'WWOOFers' [World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farmers] engaged in a cultural and skill based exchange, and not employees, our investigation showed this was clearly not the case.

    "It is not acceptable for businesses to attempt to evade their obligations by calling their workers volunteers and simply rewarding them with a bed and some food."

    The ERA already ruled against one of Ms Osslelton's businesses for her use of volunteers, with more than $20,000 paid to a Spanish man employed by Karamea Holiday Homes.

    Penalties to be paid by Robinwood Farms for the breaches are still being discussed.


    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

     Other Living & Travel News
     25 Apr: Royal baby: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge won't be out of action for long
     24 Apr: Bad weather behind fatal NSW chopper crash
     24 Apr: NZ to send gifts to new royal baby
     23 Apr: Passengers panic after part of window panel falls out during Air India flight
     23 Apr: The nun vs the President: How Sister Patricia Fox got under Rodrigo Duterte's skin
     23 Apr: Cattle disease weighs on farm sales
     22 Apr: Trent Boult's incredible catch dismisses Virat Kohli on the boundary rope in IPL
     Top Stories

    Squire unlikely for French Tests More...

    NZ shares mixed ahead of Anzac Day holiday More...

     Today's News

    Korea talks: What does China have to gain or lose from a potentially reunified Korean Peninsula? 20:26

    Rugby League:
    Hunt masterclass in Dragons' Anzac NRL win 20:26

    Dwayne Johnson has welcomed his third child into the world 20:23

    Kim Kardashian West sometimes feels “overwhelmed” by her fame 19:53

    Netball NZ refuses to let the Sunshine Girls take the Taini Jamison Trophy back to Jamaica 19:46

    Karen Gillan says Robert Downey Jr. always hosts lunch for the cast of the ‘Avengers’ franchise 19:23

    Rugby League:
    NRL round-eight preview panel 19:06

    Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and her newborn son have left the hospital 18:53

    Harry, Meghan honour Anzac dead in London 18:46

    Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, have thanked hospital staff who helped deliver their third child 18:23

     News Search

    Power Search

    © 2018 New Zealand City Ltd