Canterbury, New Zealand

Asparagus grower must pay $50,000 in owed wages to workers

A Canterbury asparagus grower's been ordered to pay nearly $50,000 for underpaying staff. Christopher Gray of Motukarara Asparagus was ordered to repay 13 pickers for unlawful deductions, minimum wage arrears and proper holiday pay entitlements, by the Employment Relations Authority.

Gray must pay a total of $49,722.49 to the former employees. The Labour Inspectorate found some of the employee's wages were being calculated based on how much asparagus they picked at $2.50 a kilo.

Horticulture sector inspector Kevin Finnegan said there was no system in place to make sure they were earning at least minimum wage. He said they also found pay was being deducted for things like airfares and accommodation without the workers' consent and Gray had failed to pay them time and a half for working public holidays.


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