Published: August 22nd 2007August 22nd 2007
The story so far!
This is the part of the trip we have to work after ringing the harvest line we discovered that the nearest work we could do was at Waikery, orange picking! It’s something we quite liked the idea of as it would be a novelty as oranges aren’t grown in England and we thought it would be different seeing orange trees. It wasn’t long before the novelty wore off and reality wore in!
We had heard that there was good money to be earned if you could put the work in, fine we thought, we don’t mind a bit of hard work!
We were informed that we would be paid $25 for a bin of oranges, great we thought until we seen the size of the bin, it was huge as you can see by the picture. The noise of the first bag of oranges being dropped in the bin is called “The death rattle!” by the locals. This is because when you drop the full bag of oranges into the bin they scatter everywhere and the reality of the job at hand sets in (Its going to take bloody ages!)
taking the two of us an hour to fill the thing! As there was only six hours in the working day it meant that between the two of us we were only earning $75 a day (about £35) As the week went on we tried to speed up but even at full pace we just couldn’t seem to get any more done, Quite disheartening.
We thought our luck had changed when one day when the phone rang when we were out orange picking, it was an agency called Select, we had called them previously about a week ago to see if they had any jobs going in vine pruning. We had been told at the time that unless we were had experience we would have to sit a course for the fee of $230 if we were to get work. Fine we said, so we put our names down for the course. We had been told at the time that the waiting list was quite long and not to expect a call until around a month’s time so imagine our surprise when this was them on the phone.
Before you could say “A bin of oranges” we called
it a day and set of to Norlunga where we were to begin the course the next day.
The course lasted 2days and to be honest it seemed a bit of a sham! We didn’t mind though as it had to be better then orange picking, surely!
No wrong again!
Monday morning we were greeted by our supervisor Wendy! Wendy resembled that of a 20stone WWF Wrestler, She cut through even the tough vines as if they were butter! God could only imagine the damage she could cause with those hands, shit! We thought.
The work wasn’t bad, repetitive but not bad, it was just the pay was crap! We had been informed that we were to be paid the first two weeks at minimum wage until we were up to speed then we would be placed on piece rate (where you are paid for the amount of vines you cut) With this in mind we took it steady as it is easy to cause permanent damage to your hand.
It was only into the second week that we were informed that we had been getting piece rate from day one, as you can guess we hadn’t cut many vines so the pay was pretty poor, We found out that when we were to finish the job they would total up the hours we had worked and top up our pay up to meet the minimum wage. This was crap! So yet again we needed a way out! Our ticket out of this dead end job came in the form of Ryan!
Ryan was a guy who we met through vine pruning. He was working for the same company as us and in the same vineyard. He is originally from London and was only working as a vine pruner so he could extend his visa as he is looking to obtain residency in Australia with his girlfriend.
After three weeks of work Ryan was informed that he wasn’t meting the criteria so was no longer required to work for them!
The following Monday while at work Ryan pulled up in his car. He told us that he had found work for another vineyard owner and he was getting twice the wage he was getting through our company. He gave us the number so we called straight away, good news we could start the next day, providing we were self employed as a contractor.
A trip to the internet café and we were self employed and ready to go!
We didn’t tell Wendy our supervisor from the WWF that we wouldn’t be in work the following day as we wanted to check out the new job first to see if it was going to be any good.
Another Guy who also worked for the same firm as us followed us to the job the next day to see if he fancied it to. His name was Gaylo, A Chinese guy who was studying in Australia.
All was going well until we started getting phone calls from select (The agency which we were working for) we chose not to answer as we intended to call them the following day. We glanced down the row to see Gaylo on his mobile phone, Pants! They were on to us! As our luck would have it our WWF champion supervisor Wendy had been driving past the vineyard where we working, we weren’t hard to spot as our bright yellow van was parked proudly at the side of the road! Wendy had been straight on to the phone to our agency to have us fired, Bitch! We were quitting anyway but she must have felt betrayed and decided to get the final blow in.
This had sealed the deal, we were now self employed and earning up to $1000 a week, stick that up your pipe and smoke it Wendy ;-)
Thanks again Ryan!