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 team: Claudio Cianfrano

Claudio Cianfrano

Meet Claudio Cianfrano, long-time member of the Biteriot & Caernarvon Cherry team. It is believed Claudio is also know as Claude Steven Cianfrano.

Claudio has been spraying the orchards since at least 2014 and previously worked for Bernard & Fiona Hall (although not officially on the Caernarvon Cherry payroll under his own name) at Caernarvon Cherry & Biteriot. Claudio is well in excess of 18 years old – the alleged age of Claudio Brown. Who is Claudio Brown?

Of recent times, since mid 2016, Claudio Cianfrano has had a working relationship with Guohao Chen of Topfruit China Australia. It is unknown whether Guohao Chen of Topfruit China Australia has any knowledge of who is Claudio Brown but it is believed Claudio Brown was the predecessor in the same job currently fulfilled by Claudio Cianfrano?

It is believed Claudio is also Claude Steven Cianfrano:

Click here to view ABN records.

Click here to view Dunn & Bradstreet records.

According to ABN records, Claudio or Claude trades as: PIETRO’S FRUIT AND VEG

Claudio, his brother Robert Cianfrano and others are allegedly in a partnership according to ABN records:

Click here to view ABN records of the partnership between Claudio and Robert Cianfrano (and others).

Audio of some of the rant (goes for 7 mins) can be heard here:

Claudio Cianfrano – Mad rant – Biteriot Caernarvon Cherry

This photography was recorded by dashcam on a public road in plain view of Claudio Cianfrano and Dave Evans.

Despite Dave Evans being a witness to Claudio’s rant – all caught on dashcam, over 7 mins long – Dave Evans told Constable Davis of Orange Police that Claudio Cianfrano wasn’t “trying to intimidate” (or words to that effect).

Youtube video (just part of the 7 minute rant) ….

Claudio Cianfrano – extract of Mad rant https://youtu.be/_lQW0X1iMuM

More happy snaps of Claudio and the team at Biteriot, Caernarvon Cherry & Topfruit China Australia.

Robert Cianfrano, brother of Claudio, was involved in a number of litigations concerning Sydney Markets and its privatisation, Freedom of Information Application/s and otherwise. Related reports can be viewed here:

Similarly, Claudio Cianfrano has written a number of correspondences to media entities. Below is a link in Claudio’s own words about his personal situation:

Would you like to tell us confidentially about your experiences? Do you know Claudio Brown? Do you know Claudio Cianfrano? Do you know if Claudio Brown knows Claudio Cianfrano? Do you know if Robert Cianfrano knows Claudio Brown?

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:

Pamela Hall – Paymistress & bookkeeper

Pamela Hall

Meet the team at Bonny Glen (in liquidation), Caernarvon Cherry & Biteriot, Hall family matriarchPamela Hall, wife of Fred Hall, mother of Bernard Hall.

Pamela Hall, wife of Fred Hall, formerly of the Bonny Glen orchard, Orange now reside at the Astill Court facility, UPA, 68 Nile Street, Orange.

Pamela oversaw bookkeeping and compliance in the Hall empire for an extended period and, it is believed, her and Fred continue to retain a multi-million dollar personal financial interest in multiple companies and properties who’d in the Hall Orange Group. It is understood that Pamela might have met Claudio Brown?

Pamela Hall and Fred Hall continue to be partners and financial backers of Bonny Glen (in liquidation), Caernarvon Cherry & Biteriot.

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:

Bernard Hall – updated profile

Bernard Francis Hall

Bernard Hall splashes out $8.2m (but fails to complete) – and as at 14 November 2019 – his companies still had only completed 1 of 5 purchases … 90% of the purchase prices still remains unpaid.  Moreover, 4 of Bernard’s companies are now in liquidation, yet despite this the liquidators seem in no hurry to, well, liquidate those 4 companies or their millions of dollars of real estate.

It seems a key assumption by Bernard Hall may be in error.  Bernard is quoted by the Central Western Daily as indicating a belief that he only needed to find the ‘other half’ of the equity he didn’t presently own in the Bonny Glen properties.

Bernard Hall - when $8m means $4m
Bernard Hall – when $8m means $4m

More than 106 days after the auction (as at 8 November 2019), Bernard and his company’s have failed to complete the purchase of 4 of the 5 Bonny Glen properties he bid to purchase at a cost of $8.15m.

In early November 2019, a notice to complete under those 4 incomplete contracts has been issued upon Bernard Hall making completion, at a final price of about $7.4m, time being of the essence, essential by the close of business on 14 November 2019.  As at the close of business on that day (yesterday), Bernard’s purchasing companies had failed to complete.

Bernard, husband of Fiona, is a director of the Bonny Glen companies (in liquidation) and holds a direct financial interest in those properties.

Despite this, it is believed that Bernard cannot simply transfer those interests to the purchasing vehicles, he had to complete the purchase contracts (it is believed) hence the notices to complete.

It would appear from Bernard’s quotes (see article above) he believed he could merely just pay a top up sum to buy out his brother and parents from the properties?  Did his Nuffield Scholar wife also hold this belief?

Bernard (with Fiona) is a joint shareholder and director of Caernarvon Cherry Pty Ltd and other related companies.

The family tree of the Bonny Glen and Hall family/s is below:

Hall family tree of businesses
Hall family tree of businesses

If you have any comments or information about Bernard & Fiona Hall, we’d love to hear from you including any documents using our instant chat, the below form or by phone on 1300-327123.

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

Caernarvon Cherry Pty Ltd – profile

Biteroit - Caernarvon Cherry

Caernarvon Cherry Pty Ltd is ACN 111 047 191 (“Caernarvon”).

Caernarvon is a labour hire company, fruit packer and marketer.

It does not own any real property (none known to DCP) but is the source of its proprietor’s (Bernard & Fiona Hall) cashflow.

Caernarvon, much to the distress of Bernard’s former partner in Bonny Glen, Tim Hall, holds a supply agreement for apples to Woolworths, yet Tim had no financial interest in Caernarvon.

Caernarvon, was able, at least theoretically, to take a clip of Bonny Glen‘s (Tim & Bernard’s) apple sales to Woolworths without having to compensate Tim.  Perhaps this was a source of angst between the brothers and led to the dissolution of their business partnership?

Caernarvon is labour hire company, marketer and packer of cherries.  To the best knowledge of DCP, its assets include a Cherry Grader purchased in 2013, additional lanes added in 2014 and virtually nothing else (according to the PPSR register).  As the packer and marketer of cherries, it is expected that it will be argued that Caernarvon is in effect a merchant within the terms of the Horticultural Code of Conduct (“the code”).  As such, the code requires Caernarvon to have Horticultural Produce Agreements (“HPA”), in writing, with every fruit grower it deals with.  DCP has spoken to multiple fruit growers and is yet to meet a single fruit grower that has received from Caernarvon a HPA which the code says is mandatory.  This could be a problem for Caernarvon in the class-action if it proceeds.

It is unknown whether this company was the purchaser of the former Bonny Glen apple grader believed to have been sold by the liquidators (of Bonny Glen).  A recent search of the PPSR register of Caernarvon does not reveal any PPSR charge on the apple grader.

Its directors are:

Bernard is the son of Fred & Pam Hall, formerly of the Bonny Glen orchard, Orange ; the husband of Fiona Catherine Hall ; and, the brother of Timothy Simon Hall.

A more detailed profile of the Hall family can be found: Hall family page – click here.

Caernarvon‘s registered address is 65 Hill Street, Orange – the offices of its accountants PMW Plus.

Its present place of business is 474 Canobolas Rd, Orange NSW 2800*.

Caernarvon’s bankers appear to be Westpac Bank who at least at present hold mortgages over a number of the Bonny Glen properties and have a security interest in Caernarvon‘s cherry grader.

Present known cases against Caernarvon Cherry

DCPLH is currently undertaking a statement of claim (as at 6 November 2019) in pursuit of an alleged debt owed by Caernarvon Cherry Pty Ltd to it, as assignee.  DCPLH has filed this statement of claim in late September 2019 with a defence due by the defendants who have sought extra time to file on or before the end of November 2019.

DCPLH is also assisting a group of local fruit growers from the Orange District of NSW with preparations for a class-action against Caernarvon.  To view our class-action page – click here.

Other links

DCPLH v Caernarvon civil claim page – click here.

DCPLH v Caernarvon proposed class-action claim page – click here.

In the matter of Bonny Glen Fruits litigation page – click here.

To view our main Hall family property page – click here.

Contacting us with or for more info