So you’ve thought all the hard work was getting a fruit picking job? Well that’s just the beginning, as reported by the age, experienced fruit picker Rick Barry is no stranger to hard work.
Then again he’s always off by 2pm…. so what’s he’s secret?
Employers said Rick is one of the hardest workers in the Sunraysia citrus industry, regualrly working about 60 hours a week in local orchards. A standard working week from Irymple, near M lasts is from Sunday to Friday, 6 days! I wonder if he gets down to the pub on a saturday?
If you want to make money the working day starts early, very early. At the peak of the summer heat from late December on, work can start as early as 4am!
It’s definitely still dark outside, but equipped with a light the fruit picker is able to exceed and excel. Mr Barry was quoted saying “During the hot weather I probably start at 4 o’clock in the morning. I have a little head light that I use,”. *courtesy of the age
“It’s stress-free. You can start when you want, you can finish when you want. There’s no-one on your back,” he says.
Everyones always complaing about their job Barry says “If you’re a police officer you can get shot at, if you’re a taxi driver you can get punched. The worst thing that happens fruit pickers is that you get scratched by a tree branch, that’s pretty much it,”
“Fruit Picking is stress-free. You can start when you want, you can finish when you want. There’s no-one on your back,” he says.
Earning the Employers Respect
Reports from past employers live up to Ricks reputation “He’s a fantastic picker. And if our industry was filled with people like Rick, their would never be issues like stems in the bins, which can then puncture the fruit. He’s a fantastic clean picker, he cleans the trees and he picks good, clean fruit, that’s what you want”
So how much cash is our mate Rick taking home? He is paid for each bin load he picks, recently for 60 hours he worked in the week he earned $2250, that’s an average of $37.50 per hour before tax… wowie!
Rick regularly averages about $1500 a week in pay. But in bigger weeks, when the picking is at its best, his weekly pay as mentioned above can exceed $2000.
How much have you been paid for your fruit picking job? Do you know someone who’s getting paid more than Rick Barry? Or someone who’s been scammed? Feel free to share your story with everyone.
This article originally appeared in the age newspaper.
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