Employer masterclass: lessons from Biteriot?

Fiona Hall, Biteriot, Caernarvon Cherry

Why are some Biteriot employees paid $70 per day, and other Biteriot workers working 27.5 hours day, 192 hours per week? What is the right level of employee remuneration / incentive in a pandemic, what can other farmers learn from Nuffield Scholar, Fiona Hall and master motivator Claudio Brown?

Whine or wine?

Renowned winetaster, Fiona Hall of Biteriot recently complained about the local workforce in Orange, NSW saying:

the inability of overseas backpackers … had led to staff shortages … they employed university and high school students …

“We had some good locals, but we [also] had some locals who did one day on, one day off [lacking] consistency,” ….

Mrs Hall said the government’s COVID-relief payments had not helped with the staff shortages.

“It wasn’t an incentive for people to go out and pick cherries,” she said.

https://www.westernmagazine.com.au/story/7077807/challenging-cherry-season-ends-after-export-staff-and-rain-issues/?cs=1549

What is really going on at Biteriot?

The writer wonders, given chief fruit picker Fiona Hall is involved in the phoenixing of 4 Bonny Glen companies in liquidation with DW Advisory – does Fiona feel her companies have paid sufficient tax to warrant the Government providing some kind of fruit growers exemption from the Covid relief package?

The writer also wonders what has changed?

At one stage, Biteriot had no trouble getting unemployed local teenagers to work picking fruit. A case in point is the worker known as Claudio Brown.

Claudio's payslip - Biteriot
Claudio’s payslip – Biteriot

Once upon a time Biteriot employed Claudio who, whilst still a minor, worked a total of 27.5hrs a day.

The writer observes that Claudio Brown paid no tax (perhaps the kind of incentive Fiona has in mind?)

Fiona wants to employ motivated staff like Claudio Brown???

The writer wonders why Fiona, an alleged Nuffield Scholar, doesn’t re-employ Claudio as a mentor to help “some locals” (as Fiona refers to them) lacking motivation…. Claudio works 27.5 hours per day.

Does Biteriot expect too much of locals?

Perhaps Mrs Hall, before criticising Orange locals, apart from employing Claudio Brown as a mentor, should she also perhaps consider a report from the employees perspective in today’s ABC (online)?

Extracted from a story on ABC – source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-01-14/when-backpackers-went-home-these-australians-tried-farm-work/13047062

The ABC article discusses potential motivational topics for Claudio Brown to coach SOME locals on:

What fruitpickers say (ABC):

ABC reported:

Nineteen-year-old Matthew Rolston bought a bus ticket … had the full backpacker experience — even staying in a hostel.

His first ever fruit-picking job was “actually rather enjoyable” at first.

“I kind of went through half a bottle of water, realised there was nowhere to fill it up and had to ration half a bottle of water for the rest of the day,” he said. …

Hostels cost more than wages earned

Things on the farm ended “rather sourly” for Mr Rolston when his wages for six 10-hour working days came through — three weeks after he first started.

A man sitting on the ground.

Luka said he made $280 in six days picking fruit.(Supplied)

“And then, when we did end up getting paid, we didn’t get the full amount,” he said.

“I was supposed to earn around $550, I ended up getting $450.

“There was no way that we’d be making over a $1,000.”

His friend Luka Wighton, who also worked on the farm, said he had gone along hoping for “a bit of an adventure” — but ended up feeling “a little bit taken advantage of”.

“It was exhausting work … I mean, I’d be fine with it, if it was more pay, but we were kind of at a loss,” he said.

His $280 wage — paid on piece-rate agreement — meant he paid more for his accommodation at the hostel than he earned, as did Mr Rolston.

“I didn’t expect to make much money, but I thought I’d go back with a little bit of a profit,” Mr Wighton said.

Chloe said she gets paid hourly and that her rate was about $14.

Jodie* was hesitant to share her tale of rejection under her real name … At times she said felt employers “danced around” the wage topic, tried to make the job sound “as unappealing as possible” or made “unreasonable” requests.

She said she was starting to think some farmers might prefer migrant workers to Australians because they would be less likely to complain about small wages.

“I feel like they don’t have the same sort of legal requirements around wages,” she said.

“I know a lot of them live on site and [employers] charge them accommodation and all that sort of stuff.”

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-01-14/when-backpackers-went-home-these-australians-tried-farm-work/13047062

What Biteriot employees are paid (SBS):

The writer observes Fiona Hall’s worker told SBS he was paid about $70 per day!

Not bad!

Biteriot - backpacker pay rates
Biteriot – backpacker pay rates – $70 per day …. …. see video @15m, 10seconds

Source: https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/1745497667922/dateline-pandemic-farming-apples-and-oranges?action=play …. see video @15m, 10seconds

This is sharply different to the wage of under 18 year old local fruitpicker known as Claudio Brown – earning sometime $4800 per week (tax free) working 27.5 hours a day.

Despite the writer having an MBA, the writer would need to draw upon the expertise of Nuffield Scholar Fiona Hall to know which is the appropriate level of pay and incentive and what government incentives (or dis-incentives) should apply?

Claudio's payslip - Biteriot
Claudio’s payslip – Biteriot

What other Biteriot employees have to say?

The writer is unsure whether the below staff are working 27.5 hours per day or on a more conventional $70 per day pay rate? The writer notes however the following independent review on Biteriot via google:

Source: https://bit.ly/3sveACg

Want to know more? Like to enrol in a Claudio Brown motivational course? Like to get better productivity from your picking team?

Would you like to tell us confidentially about your experiences? Are you interested to join the Caernarvon / Biteriot Employee Wage Theft class action?

Do you know Claudio Brown?

Do you know if this is the voice of Claudio Brown?

is this the voice of Claudio Brown? #whoisclaudiobrown

Do you have information on government incentives Biteriot should get to subsidise its workforce?

For more information – chat with us live using our instant chat tools (bottom corners), book an appointment or call now on 1300-327123 (till late).

To contact us with any confidential tip-offs, files or information – please use the instant chat tools or form below:

Meet the Biteriot / Caernarvon team: Bruce Johnston

Biteriot's accountant - Bruce Johnston (pre conviction)

Meet valued team member of Biteriot & Caernarvon Cherry – Bruce Johnston.

Bruce was once described this way:

Bruce Alan Johnston was a senior accountant for Newcrest Mining Limited, involved in the development of the Cadia East Mine.

Between 1 July 2010 and 27 August 2013, Mr Johnston prepared 156 invoices in the name of Bramph Consultancy Services. But no such entity existed, and the funds were placed into bank accounts controlled by Johnston.

The invoices were purported to be for consultancy services in relation to the Cadia Mine project. The total amount of money Johnston transferred into his accounts was $1,257,847. He gradually gambled the funds away.

Johnston used online betting agencies, and a phone app to place his bets. At the height of his gambling spree, Johnston was placing up to 100 bets a day on several sports.

The fraud was discovered when someone noticed that no GST was being charged on the invoices. Newcrest senior management spoke with Johnston about the matter on 21 November 2013.

The father-of-two confessed to the crime, and was arrested and charged on 25 July 2014.

https://nswcourts.com.au/articles/gambling-addiction-does-not-lead-to-a-reduced-sentence/

To read more about Bruce’s career – please follow this link: click here.

Bruce, who partially succeeded Pamela Hall in accounts, was a trusted member of the Biteriot and Caernarvon team – handling accounts and dealing with grower payments and receipts and worked alongside fellow convicted fraudster Paula Neill, plus Fiona Hall & others.

It is unknown if Bruce met and knows the identity of the mysterious Claudio Brown?

Would you like to tell us confidentially about your experiences?

For more information – chat with us live using our instant chat tools (bottom corners), book an appointment or call now on 1300-327123 (till late).

To contact us with any confidential tip-offs, files or information – please use the instant chat tools or form below:

Meet the Biteriot / Caernarvon team: Paula Neill

Paula Neill - thief & paymistress

Meet valued team member of Biteriot & Caernarvon CherryPaula Neill.

Paula was once described this way:

A WOMAN who embezzled more than $40,000 from the Bathurst Information and Neighbourhood Centre has been convicted of stealing property as a clerk sentenced to a nine month Intensive Correctional Order after appearing in Bathurst Local Court last week.

To read more about Paula’s career – please follow this link: click here.

Paula, who succeeded Pamela Hall as paymistress, was a trusted member of the Biteriot and Caernarvon team – handling payrolls, accounts and dealing with grower payments and receipts and worked alongside Bruce Johnston, Fiona Hall & others.

It is understood that Paula may have met and know the identity of the mysterious Claudio Brown and written his weekly cheques (Claudio doesn’t have a bank account – see profile)?

Paula’s career at Bathurst Information and Neighbourhood Centre was cut short in mirky circumstances as discussed in the above article – click here. Bathurst Information and Neighbourhood Centre describes itself as follows:

The Neighbourhood Centre is a not for profit charitable organisation that supports the Bathurst community and beyond.
Since 1976, we enable people to come together to strengthen, participate, develop and celebrate our community.

Through our staff and strong and valuable volunteer base we provide programs, activities, and support groups, and access to information, facilities and meeting spaces through Bathurst and Oberon Neighbourhood Centres.

Would you like to tell us confidentially about your experiences?

For more information – chat with us live using our instant chat tools (bottom corners), book an appointment or call now on 1300-327123 (till late).

To contact us with any confidential tip-offs, files or information – please use the instant chat tools or form below:

Caernarvon Cherry: Meet the team & fun facts

Meet the team - Caernarvon Cherry & Biteriot
Meet the team – Caernarvon Cherry & Biteriot

Guess which of the above has a criminal record (answer – its more than 1 person)?

Would you like to tell us confidentially about your experiences?

For more information – chat with us live using our instant chat tools (bottom corners), book an appointment or call now on 1300-327123 (till late).

To contact us with any confidential tip-offs, files or information – please use the instant chat tools or form below:

Caernarvon Cherry: payroll fun facts #2

Did you know for Caernarvon Cherry employees (and possible current Biteriot employees) there are more than 24 hours in the day?

Did you know that some Caernarvon Cherry employees (possibly current Biteriot employees) work, on average, 27.4 hours per day x 7 days a week?

Take the example of minor Claudio Brown, employee of Caernarvon Cherry (possibly current Biteriot employee). If Claudio Brown is a ‘real‘ person he is or was a minor, i.e. an under 18 year old working 27.4 hours a day billed to our client and Assignor Homeward Bound Holdings Pty Ltd.

Below is the extract of the imaginary employee Claudio Brown’s private information ….

Click here to view Claudio’s pay slip for the 27.4 hours x 7 days = 192.25 hour working week.

Would you like to tell us confidentially about your experiences?

For more information – chat with us live using our instant chat tools (bottom corners), book an appointment or call now on 1300-327123 (till late).

To contact us with any confidential tip-offs, files or information – please use the instant chat tools or form below:

Caernarvon Cherry: payroll fun facts

Between 1 June 2013 and 30 June 2014, Caernarvon Cherry Pty (recently morphed into Biteriot Operations Pty Ltd) employed allegedly 914 said “employees”.

Of those said employees:

1. 107 had no address.

2. 35 had no bank accounts, multiple other persons also shared bank accounts.

3. 11 of the persons with no address also had no bank accounts.

4. 24 had no date/s of birth.

5. 530 had no superannuation membership number.

6. 143 had no tax file number, yet 63 received a tax free threshold of circa $20,000.

7. Between 9 December 2013 and 5 January 2014, the accused purported to supply services to the victim company, Homeward Bound Holdings Pty Ltd (in liquidation) said to total approximately $92,000.

Would you like to tell us confidentially about your experiences?

For more information – chat with us live using our instant chat tools (bottom corners), book an appointment or call now on 1300-327123 (till late).

To contact us with any confidential tip-offs, files or information – please use the instant chat tools or form below:

Biteriot’s busted business model: export cherry sales down 75%

Pandemic Farming: Apples And Oranges
Fiona Hall, Biteriot, Caernarvon Cherry – pays staff $70 per day and then complains that she can’t find workers?

Alleged Nuffield Scholar, Fiona Hall of Caernarvon / Biteriot has admitted that her export sales to the number 1 market in the world China, were down 75%.

Recently, Fiona gave an interview whereby she said:

“We only did a quarter of what we did [last year],” she said.

The entire article, published in the Central Western Daily can be viewed – click here.

A number of aspects of the article warrant fact checking:

  • Alleged fact:  Mainland Australia is well placed to supply cherries to China 

False – As per the following industry press articles, Southern Hemisphere cherry producer (Chile – with its ideal desert climate, low or no rainfall, low cost of production and favourable market access – they are not in a trade war with China) produces over 300,000 tonnes of fresh cherries per annum whilst mainland Australia produces around 15,000 tonnes in the same growing season.  Chile ship, as the industry press articles attached report, cherries by sea that by 12 December 2020 had already landed in China >1000 x 40’ sea containers. In contrast, Orange NSW loaded zero sea shipments this year, nor last year nor indeed ever.  Orange has not loaded even 1 sea shipment in the past 5 years. 

Recent industry press articles (confirming that Chile raised sales by 38% whilst Fiona and Biteriot export sales fell by 75% include:

  1. 30/12/2020 – Amidst Record Chilean Cherry Season, China Arrivals to Peak in Jan. | Produce Report
  2. 16/12/2020 – First Sea Shipment of Chilean Cherries Arrives in China | Produce Report
  3. 1/12/2020 – Chilean Cherry Shipment Prices Settling After Record Highs | Produce Report
  4. 2/11/2020 – Season’s First Batch of Chilean Cherries Arrives in Shanghai | Produce Report
  5. 9/9/2020 – Air Freight Cost for Australian Cherries Doubles, Even With Subsidies | Produce Report
  6. 9/3/2020 – China’s Fruit Import:Export Statistics for First Half of 2020 Released | Produce Report
  7. 6/1/2021 – Challenging Orange cherry season ends after export, staff and rain issues | Central Western Daily |
  • Alleged fact:  Orange NSW/Cabonne is a good place to grow cherries 

False – the rainfall is way too high to reliably grow (quality or competitive) cherries on the tablelands of NSW.  Alternatively the high desert production areas of Chile, with irrigation water supplied by extensive snow melt rivers receive around 6 inches of rain p/a, with no damaging rains during the growing season.  The elevated areas of the Canobolas growing area west of Orange NSW in Cabonne receives almost 7x more rain than Chile making cherry growing west of Orange NSW a high risk proposition, with profits likely perhaps once every 3 or 4 years? 

  • Alleged fact:  Obtaining labour to harvest cherries is difficult 

True – it is not viable to harvest cherries in Australia if Australian cherry pickers earn $25 per hour when Chilean producers pay under $9 per hour for harvest labour.

NB: We do not admit that Biteriot pays its staff $25 per hour. On the contrary, we are promoted a wage theft class action for underpaid Biteriot / Caernarvon & Bonny Glen workers. In a recent interview Fiona Hall admitted fruit pickers were only paid about $70 per dayclick link here and skip to 15 mins & 15 seconds

Fiona Hall, Biteriot, Caernarvon Cherry

It is not believed that Growers benefitted from the cut priced $70 per day wage rates, accordingly we are promoting a growers class action for ripped off growers / suppliers to Caernarvon Cherry & Biteriot.

We do not submit that ALL cherry farms are unviable, just the business model being employed by Topfruit China Australia and BiteriotTopfruit China Australia is owned by unknown foreign investors fronted by Guohao Chen (sometimes known as Vincent Guohao Chen) the heir to a toilet bowl empire in Guangzhou China.

We note that other growers (Thornbrook Orchard) in the CWD article report having had a “good season” under the you-pick model not favoured absentee Chinese neighbours.

Would you like to tell us confidentially about your experiences?

For more information – chat with us live using our instant chat tools (bottom corners), book an appointment or call now on 1300-327123 (till late).

To contact us with any confidential tip-offs, files or information – please use the instant chat tools or form below: