A LABOUR hire company that underpaid 10 international workers more than $40,000 at Primo Smallgoods’ Scone abattoir will be fined for workplace breaches while other workers look set to lose more than $150,000.
The Fair Work Ombudsman sued Raying Holding Pty Ltd and Zu Neng Shi for breaches of the Fair Work Act including failing to pay minimum wages, overtime and loadings, as well as not providing pay slips or maintaining proper records.
The 10 workers were recruited by Raying to work at the abattoir from 2011 to 2013 with the underpayments ranging from $347 for one worker through to $10,257 for another.
The company has gone into liquidation and did not defend the proceedings or provide an address for court documents to be served.
The Ombudsman told the court that the outstanding $41,647 had been ‘‘rectified’’.
The meat workers’ union’s Newcastle secretary, Grant Courtney, said the union welcomed the decision, but added that other workers would remain out of pocket.
‘‘While the judgment mentions the 10 workers who were compensated, a further 30 union members employed by Raying have lost hope of receiving their underpayments, which is in excess of $150,000, due to the company going into liquidation,’’ he said.
‘‘Raying Holding is just one of many unscrupulous labour providers engaged by meat giant Primo who have been or are under investigation by the meat union relating to similar breaches.
‘‘The most recent labour hire company [New Bridge Trading] who provided labour to Primo that was being pursued in the Federal Circuit Court by the union went into liquidation owing 19 international workers $123,000.
‘‘The meat union has overwhelming evidence that suggests over the last three years, hundreds of international workers engaged by labour providers at Primo Scone are being or have been underpaid.’’
The general manager of Hunter Valley Quality Meats, the company that operates the abattoir for Primo, Peter Allen, said the company ‘‘would never condone unethical or illegal employment practices either directly or indirectly through labour hire agencies’’.
‘‘We have assisted the Fair Work Ombudsman with their investigations in this case and fully support them in this action,’’ Mr Allen said.