Huon workers get half the $15m redundancy owed

News

Huon workers get half the $15m redundancy owed

About 300 sacked workers from failed car component company Huon Group will receive $6m from the Federal Government redundancy payments scheme before Christmas - less than half what they are owed.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

About 300 sacked workers from failed car component company Huon Group will receive $6m from the Federal Government redundancy payments scheme before Christmas - less than half what they are owed.

The workers were made redundant five months ago and are owed more than $15m. Their union has also criticised the delay in any payments being made to the workers.

The payments will go to employees from the group's Empire Rubber plant in Bendigo, its former FRN plant in Frankston and the Mills Elastomers operation in Dandenong.

The Federal Government yesterday said the Huon Group qualified for its general employee entitlements and redundancy scheme (GEERS).

Well short

The repayments will include all unpaid wages, annual service leave, pay in lieu of notice and up to 16 weeks of redundancy pay.

However, liquidator Ken Sellers said the $6m was well short of the $15m owed to workers, many of whom had been employed by Huon for up to 10 years and had accrued redundancy payouts well above 16 weeks. Sellers said a sizeable sick leave package requested by liquidators was also rejected.

Liberal Senator for Victoria, Michael Ronaldson, made an announcement at the Empire Rubber site yesterday, saying that all GEERS money would be paid by Christmas.

Waiting for months

The payments are expected to be forwarded to the sacked workers within seven days, but Brad Dobson from the National Union of Workers (NUW) said the workers had been waiting months to know whether they would recover money owed to them.

'It's very disappointing this announcement has taken so long and comes only after a long campaign by unions and the Bendigo community,' Dobson said.

He said the rest of the entitlements owed to employees may be recovered from the sale of some of the Huon Group's operations.

A $7m insurance policy held by Empire Rubber cannot be drawn upon as it is the subject of an ongoing dispute.

NUW Victorian State Secretary, Antony Thow, said that announcement was too long in coming.

Disgusting situation

'This is a disgusting situation,' Thow said. 'While the Government has finally given us some indication when this money will be paid it should not have got to this situation in the first place.'

He said the fact it had taken so long for the workers to be entitled to GEERS was the fault of the Federal Government's law changes at the end of last year.

Thow said that workers could originally access GEERS payments when a company was in administration, but now must wait until a company is in liquidation or bankruptcy for the safety net scheme to kick in.

'This meant that these workers who were made redundant in July could not even apply for GEERS until the company went into formal liquidation in October,' he said.

Related

Huon strike finally over after Holden signs deal

  

 

Post details