Allegations against VBA Farming have arisen relating to non-compliance with fair work and pay conditions. VBA Farming grows multiple fresh products including Broccolini® under licence for Perfection Fresh Australia.
Dominic Welfare, Chief People Officer of Perfection Fresh Australia, says that Perfection Fresh Australia takes ethical and fair work conditions for third party sourced employees very seriously.
“Our employment policies are underpinned by fair payment of wages, ethical treatment of all staff, no form of discrimination, and the provision of safe working conditions for all.
“Our Code of Conduct ensures fair wages and working conditions are adhered and we require our suppliers to ensure that workers receive the correct entitlements within the relevant Awards. This requirement forms part of our contractual terms for the growing and supply of product to us from our growers.
“We conduct regular announced and unannounced systematic SMETA/Fair Farms external audits of our third-party growers. The aim of the audits is to ensure compliance with our Supplier Code of Conduct which includes our Ethical Sourcing of Labour Policy.
“The most recent independent audit for VBA Farming occurred on 23 November 2022. As part of this audit worker documentation was reviewed, including payslips, corresponding timesheets, contracts/agreements, age verification and evidence of Right to Work.
“Instances of non-conformance in their labour management system were discovered. As per Perfection Fresh Australia’s Ethical Sourcing Protocol, we continued to monitor the issue and can confirm that the identified non-conformance was rectified and closed by the independent auditing body on 22 January 2023.
“We are committed to upholding human rights, fair working conditions and environmental protection. In accordance with our customers, the community and the requirements of Australian legislation, we endeavour to always operate lawfully, and we expect the same from our suppliers, and labour-hire companies.
Perfection Fresh conducts auditing of its supply chain in line with the industry standards expected from growers to distributors to retailers. The auditing system is designed to find errors and implement corrective action.
“We believe that our requirements for third party sourced employee working conditions, reflect and abide by best industry practice in Australia. We are committed to open communication and negotiations, and we are willing to review any claims put forward by employees or their United Workers Union representatives.
Perfection Fresh is Australia’s largest privately-owned fresh fruit and vegetable produce business that has operated in Australia for over 44 years. The company employs over 1,000 full time staff across high tech production facilities, national logistics and operations and sales infrastructure, and is a key supplier to major retailers in Australia and overseas.
For more information: perfection.com.au