Company accused of ripping off drivers, faces 33k fine

Ombudsman launches legal action against timber transporting company accused of underpaying tow drivers $50,000

The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched legal proceedings against a Western Australian timber transporting company accused of underpaying tow drivers $50,000 between 2005 and 2007.

The Palcon Group allegedly underpaid the drivers $28,552 and $19,027 respectively under workplace agreements that provided for the drivers to be paid a base rate as well as bonus payments based on the quantity of timber they carted.

The case will be heard on September 9. If found guilty, Palcon faces a maximum penalty of $33,000.

The company also allegedly breached an undertaking it gave to federal authorities regarding the meaning and operation of bonus entitlements under one of the agreements.

This caused the Ombudsman to carry out the prosecution despite the fact the drivers have since been paid the money they were owed.

Ombudsman Director Leigh Quealy says the federal workplace watchdog takes a zero tolerance approach to non-compliance with agreements.

"We treat issues of non-compliance with agreements, particularly breaches of undertakings regarding agreements, very seriously," he says.

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