Wind­fall for sacked FIFOs

Pilbara News - - News - ■ Kim Macdon­ald

Thou­sands of fly-in, fly-out work­ers who have lost their jobs at re­source projects over the past six years are in line for a cash wind­fall af­ter a land­mark rul­ing in the Fair Work Com­mis­sion.

The com­mis­sion found elec­tri­cal con­trac­tor Kentz Aus­tralia failed to give re­dun­dant work­ers enough no­tice as it de­mo­bilised them from sec­tions of the $34 bil­lion In­pex Ichthys liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas pro­ject in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory last year.

The court found it had wrongly in­cluded one or two weeks of the work­ers’ recre­ation leave in the manda­tory ter­mi­na­tion no­tice pe­riod, which ranges from one to five weeks.

The Elec­tri­cal Trades Union, which won the case, said Kentz Aus­tralia must now pay more than $1 mil­lion in back pay to 150 Ichthys work­ers.

ETU WA sec­re­tary Les McLaugh­lan said the union would use the prece­dent to chase wages for thou­sands of work­ers let go in sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances on other projects, claim­ing it was com­mon prac- tice for con­trac­tors to run recre­ation and ter­mi­na­tion con­cur­rently.

Un­der law, wage claims can date back six years, po­ten­tially mak­ing tens of thou­sands of work­ers el­i­gi­ble for back­pay.

The Aus­tralian Man­u­fac­tur­ing Work­ers Union and the Con­struc­tion, Forestry, Min­ing and En­ergy Union also plan to use the rul­ing to seek money for their FIFO mem­bers.

Mr McLaugh­lan said the union would tar­get con­trac­tors on Chevron’s Gor­gon pro­ject and the Roy Hill pro­ject.

“This vic­tory ... opens the door for thou­sands of other FI- FO work­ers who have been de­nied no­tice pay in breach of min­i­mum con­di­tions on re­source projects in WA, ” he said.

CFMEU sec­re­tary Mick Buchan said the union had writ­ten to ev­ery ma­jor pro­ject yes­ter­day.

“We will be work­ing over the com­ing weeks and months to make sure that ev­ery cent owed to work­ers is paid, ” he said.

A spokesman for Kentz Aus­tralia, which has 21 days to ap­peal, said it was con­sid­er­ing its op­tions. Roy Hill and Chevron did not com­ment.

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