13 May 2022

Union calls out Australian wool industry push for cheap Pacific labour

5:30 pm on 13 May 2022

The Australian Workers' Union says this week's wool industry appeal for Pacific Islanders to fill a supposed worker shortfall is just another attempt to undercut pay and conditions using cheap imported labour.

Man shearing sheep

Photo: 123rf

The wool industry claims to have identified a workforce shortage of 500 shearers and 500 shed hands, and wants to use Pacific Islands workers in what it hopes will be the start of a steady pipeline of easily exploitable workers.

AWU National Secretary Dan Walton said the union was not convinced there was a genuine worker shortage.

He says despite the ongoing claims by the Shearing Contractors Association of Australia and some woolgrowers of a labour shortage, the fact is the Australian flock has been shorn year after year.

Mr Walton says it has been successfully shorn right through the pandemic, and it can be shorn now.

He says they should stop looking overseas and instead work to attract Australian workers by offering fair pay and conditions, and proper training.