Cane labourers not paid for three weeks

Labourers Jiuta Raituraki (front) with Mosese Nayacalevu (back left), Paula Manumanunitoga and Mateasi Dabenaise in Vitogo, Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Cane labourers from Namosi working on a Lautoka farm claim they have not been paid for the past three weeks.

However, they are not blaming their employer, Sarojni Lata, for their inability to send their children to school and provide for their families.

Jiuta Raituraki and fellow villagers from Wainimakutu, Namosi, said they came to the farm about a month ago.

He claimed the issue was not with the owner but with poor mill performance which was affecting delivery.

“How can we get paid when first of all the quota has not been given to allow us to load the cane and get it transported to the Lautoka mill?” Mr Raituraki said.

“We feel sorry for the owner because she has been providing everything for us which is not supposed to be the case.

“We have harvested about three acres and the cane is waiting to be transported to the mill but nothing seems to be happening.”

The Namosi man said the usual agreement with cane labourers was for farm owners to provide meals during the first two weeks of harvesting.

He said labourers would fend for themselves once they started getting their fortnightly wages.

Mr Raituraki said this had not happened because all the cane they had harvested at the 10-acre Vitogo farm had not been delivered to the mill as yet.

He said with no income, he was unable to send his daughter to school.

“We hope things will roll smoothly soon because we also have our families waiting in the village and we usually send money back to them when the cane harvesting season begins.”

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