Conclusive evidence of extreme labour exploitation, slave-like conditions and black market labour gangs has been found on farms and in factories supplying Australia’s biggest supermarkets and fast food chains.
A Four Corners investigation has revealed the food being picked, packed and processed by exploited workers is being sold to consumers nationwide. The supermarkets involved include Woolworths, Coles, Aldi, IGA and Costco.
Fast food outlets KFC and Red Rooster are also implicated. Four Corners understands a third major fast food chain is also involved.
The foods tainted by exploitation include a wide variety of vegetables and poultry products, with some of the biggest brand names set to be named.
The shocking forms of exploitation are all accompanied by the gross underpayment of wages, with potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in stolen pay going missing every year.
A scam is being run by unscrupulous labour hire contractors – dodgy middle men who sell groups of cut-price migrant workers to farms and factories producing fresh food across the country.
The migrant workers enter Australia legally on 417 working holiday visas, which were designed as a cultural exchange program.
The visa allows migrant workers to travel and work for up to six months in one location, performing low-skilled jobs such as fruit and vegetable picking or working in meat and poultry factories in regional locations and some cities.