Windfall for sacked FIFOs
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.