26 Apr 2016

Fiji govt says worker exploitation claims are lies

12:11 pm on 26 April 2016

Fiji's Employment Minister says allegations of underpayment and unfair working conditions in Australia's Seasonal Worker Programme are lies.

Semi Koroilavesau traveled to Australia to investigate claims of exploitation and also request an expansion of the programme to allow greater numbers.

Mr Koroilavesau says the claims made by 13 Fijians were basically fabricated, and there has been a lot of misinformation included in TV coverage of the situation.

He told FBC news that there's a lot of influence and interference around the workers from Fijians living in Melbourne.

Earlier, Australian media reported a number of workers under the programme were being exploited, with some being paid less than US$8 a week.

Mr Koroilavesau says outside influences led to the media coverage and he is now in discussions on whether a second trip is needed to ensure Fiji's participation in the program.