OE Jobs on NZ FarmsWednesday, Feb 26, 2003
The finding, securing and retention of good staff have been a major focus for many farmers, particularly large dairy herd operators. While differing forms of shares and contracts are part of the farm employment structure a large proportion of the daily work force working on farms is still waged or salaried.
Much has been written about the how, of employment, even more has been spent on training for both the employer and the employees but each farm employer has generally developed a philosophy to staff employment that within the rules and based on a trusting working relationship works well for them.
Since the advent of the Employment Contracts Act and the abandonment of the old Farm Award system, farm employment conditions have improved markedly, for most farm employees who now have gained reasonable pay rates plus rostered work with reasonable time off.
However not all conditions and experiences it seems have matched the expectations of the three young Ukrainian folk who have found there Canterbury dairy farm jobs job not to their liking.
It seems once again dairy farmers as employers will take a bashing for something that appears to be a function of the system that brought the three to NZ rather than the inferred exploitation by the employing farmer.
The exploitation claim should more certainly lie with the agencies that managed the immigrant’s affairs. The cost of this service, deducted as expenses, at perhaps 40% of the after tax income of a year in New Zealand dooms any scheme to fail.
If farmer employers do not wish to have further hassles with dissatisfied temporary overseas staff they need to move quickly to manage the service function themselves rather than leaving the job to opportunists who have little more interest than turning a dollar.
Not only do they need to protect their reputation as employers but it is clear that if the farming industry and particularly the dairy industry continue on the path of large scale operations a