August 6, 2019

Watch out for Metrotheft

Wage theft is extraordinarily rampant across the transport industry. The TWU has the evidence that shows many transport workers are being underpaid every day.

Companies are on notice from the TWU, if they make a decision that leads to transport workers not being paid the correct wage, then they have engaged in wage theft. 

The TWU has obtained many legal outcomes for members that rectifies instances of wage theft. We know that the system is broken. There is no serious disincentive in place for employers who engage in wage theft and often recovering the correct amounts owed is extremely difficult.

Wage theft is rampant even in transport companies working on projects that are under the oversight of government.

Metrotheft

Metromix is a large concrete transport company that has happily taken the taxpayer dollar whilst engaging in wage theft. The TWU took Metromix to the Federal Circuit Court because they failed to properly pay meal allowances to a TWU member since 2013. 

In an arrogant display that amounts to total contempt of its workers and the legal system, Metromix refused to attend the court, twice, to face up to their problem, despite being properly informed of the court hearings. 

The Federal Circuit Court Judge made orders against Metromix declaring they had breached their enterprise agreement and the Fair Work Act. 

Metromix were ordered by the Judge to pay our member back $5877.50 in unpaid wages. 

The TWU are not stopping there, we will return to the Court in September seeking that the Judge order penalties against Metromix for their arrogant act of wage theft. 

For many operators in the transport industry, wage theft has become the new business model. For the TWU and our members this is unacceptable and we know the problem will become more widespread if dodgy bosses are not held accountable for their actions. 

Companies that engage in wage theft often plead ignorance when they are caught out by the TWU despite the industry knowledge they clearly possess from running a large fleet and working for major government projects. 

Wage theft is stealing from transport workers, their families and taxpayers.

The current laws make wage theft too easy and the punishment is too light. This means that clients, like the NSW Government, are able to turn a blind eye to what is going on in their own supply chain. 

If a company is stealing money from workers, there is no guarantee they are taking care of other issues like the maintenance of trucks or safety. Safety is a shared responsibility of all in the supply chain including the client, who inevitably places the most pressure on transport workers with their control of the industry.  

Clients that utilise their position to drive down costs and ensure there is a race to the bottom are making profits from wage theft in their supply chain.

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