WEDNESDAY 23 AUGUST HOWARD SPRINGS
The mango lady – J – phoned us this morning. She said there will not be any mango work for 1-2 weeks yet – still waiting for them to be ripe enough. She asked if we were still interested? Told her yes.
J phoned again, in the afternoon. She said they were in this same caravan park, and invited us to go round and meet them. We did.
They had a large bus. We sat outside in the shade and chatted. They had worked this shed before, but this would be their first year of running the work force. She said it would be a fair length season, because they also received mangoes from Katherine to pack, and these would be a bit later to ripen. So the season should go into November, maybe even early December.
THIS was the job I wanted to do! Not WA. The latter one was, due to delays, becoming too late for my liking, maybe even running into January. That raised questions like: what would we do about Xmas? What about cyclones? The heat? Would we have to leave the van alone to fly home for Xmas? All of these thoughts were negatives to me.
J said she was going to try to make the shed a 6 day on, 1 day off, rotation, with 10 hour days. They would start at 7am, with a 10 minute break every 2 hours. There would be a 30 minute – unpaid – lunch break. These were much better conditions than the shed we’d worked at Giru in 2002.
We would only pay 13% tax on our earnings. This was because Darwin was classified as a remote zone. That was good news, because it meant that our Litchfield earnings would also count towards the remote tax offset too. I estimated we would clear about $750 a week, each. That was respectable.
We liked J and her husband. I felt they would be reasonable and fair people to work with. I was now feeling really positive about being here.
M phoned at night. She was now at Elliott, so she had stopped “waiting” for us. I told her we had decided today to do the mango job.