Farmers shamed for job ads offering below minimum wage

Farmers are being named and shamed on social media over job advertisements offering below minimum wage and excessive hours.

Unions are campaigning online about poor pay and conditions within the dairy industry. Source: 1 NEWS

The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) has been campaigning about poor pay and conditions in the industry by tweeting the links to jobs that pay little or demand extremely long hours.

For example, one job says the salary starts at $37k and requires 50 hour weeks on average - amounting to $14.23 per hour. The minimum wage is $14.75.

The president of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, Helen Kelly, says farmers are ripping people off.

"So many, including very senior jobs, are on or near the minimum wage and we also know from workplace inspections that people are being ripped off in terms of the minimum code," she said.

Today, Federated Farmers held a seminar educating farmers on employment practices, saying the ads are simply miscommunication.

Federated Farmers Dairy Chairman Andrew Hoggard says farmers don't properly outline the package in their ads.

"A lot of farmers aren't including the value of accommodation in the jobs, so they're not showing a true representation of the package they're offering to start with and they've got a bad habit of writing down the worst possible hours someone would expect to work," he said.

An audit of 82 dairy farms by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment found almost all were breaching employment law. While only four related to the minimum wage, in the majority of other cases proper records weren't being kept on the number of hours worked or the wages paid.

The CTU says the ads are a way of hiding whether you're paying the minimum wage or not.

"If you correlate that to the job ads which show when the jobs are listed it's often below the minimum wage you could suggest it's very widespread," Ms Kelly says.

Federated Farmers says it's a bad look, but not endemic, and it's working with farmers to improve their practices.