Workers at Pilbara mine receive $240,600 back pay

A labour-hire company has back-paid 13 workers, including labourers, riggers, carpenters, diesel fitters and an electrician, after they did not receive their termination entitlements at a mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

Image credit: Graeme Churchard (Wikimedia Commons)

The total back pay was $240,600.

The labour-hire employer has received a Letter of Caution from Fair Work Ombudsman, after the workers were unsuccessful in determining who was legally responsible for paying their termination entitlements.

The company had an agreement to transfer the employees between them when the withdraw occurred, but the host organisation breached the agreement, which initiated a disagreement as to who was the legal employer on the date of termination.

After less than one year of service, the employees were stood down because their host employer cancelled its work at the mine.

However, the workers did not receive outstanding wages, redundancy, accrued annual leave, location allowances or project incentive payments in accordance with their enterprise agreement.

According to Natalie James, Fair Work Ombudsman, once the labour-hire company assumed responsibility, it reimbursed all outstanding entitlements.

$22,500 was the largest amount back-paid to an individual worker.

Ms James also stated that while it is pleasing the company corrected the underpayments, she suggested businesses need to ensure they are aware of their lawful workplace obligations.

“It’s important that employers who are unsure about their obligations seek professional advice or contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for information,” she added.

“Our website can assist employers and workers alike understand and comply with their rights and obligations so there aren’t any issues arising around transfer of employees.

“When we find errors, our preference is to educate employers about their obligations and assist them to put processes in place to ensure the mistakes are not repeated.”

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