OWS still aiming Federal Court case at Tristar

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OWS still aiming Federal Court case at Tristar

The Office of Workplace Services (OWS) will continue to 'vigorously' prosecute Tristar following the ruling of the full bench of the Federal Court that the NSW IRC has no power to conduct an inquiry into the company's actions.

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The Office of Workplace Services (OWS) will continue to 'vigorously' prosecute Tristar following the ruling of the full bench of the Federal Court that the NSW IRC has no power to conduct an inquiry into the company's actions.

OWS Director, Nicholas Wilson, said that on 11 May 2007 the Federal Court will hold further directions hearings for the OWS case against Tristar.

'The Office of Workplace Services conducted an extensive investigation into this matter over many months and is now vigorously following the court process on behalf of the affected Tristar employees,' Wilson said.

He said that as a result of the investigation, OWS alleges that Tristar Steering and Suspension Australia Pty Ltd breached the Workplace Relations Act 1996 by 'injuring or altering the position of certain named employees, to their prejudice for the reason the employees are entitled to the benefit of a certified agreement'.

Seeking full payment

In February 2007 OWS commenced legal proceedings against Tristar, alleging breaches of the Act in relation to 26 employees who, OWS will argue, were involuntarily retrenched.

'OWS is seeking full payment of the redundancy entitlements owing to those employees,' Wilson said.

$1.2m recovered in March

Meanwhile the latest OWS figures show underpayments totalling more than $10.1m have been recovered for more than 6,300 employees in its first year of operation.

Claims investigations in March this year returned over $1.2m.

Wilson said these results stem from investigations and targeted audits since OWS commenced operations as an independent agency on 27 March 2006.

'It is a basic right of all workers in Australia to be paid correctly for their hours worked, rates of pay, leave entitlements and employment status,' Wilson said. 'OWS will act on all justified claims regardless of the amount, with no minimum threshold. Most employers do the right thing by their employees, and make sure they are aware of their obligations.'

'Easy' to pay correctly

Wilson said making sure staff are paid correctly is 'easy'.

'OWS publishes fact sheets and time and wages record keeping templates, which help prove the amounts paid are correct,' he said. 'Employers who want tailored arrangements for their workplaces can easily set up agreements that give absolute certainty about wages and conditions.'

Wilson said employers must understand not paying workers correctly can and does prove costly.

Won't hesitate to prosecute

'OWS seeks voluntary compliance but will not hesitate to pursue cases through the courts, where severe penalties of up to $33,000 per offence can be applied, in addition to recovery of any unpaid entitlements,' he said.

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