Roma biz faces court for alleged under-payments


Federal workplace watchdog launches prosecution against Queensland transport company, alleging it under-paid 17 employees almost $70,000

The federal workplace watchdog has launched a prosecution against a Queensland transport company, alleging it under-paid 17 employees almost $70,000.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is prosecuting South West Express Freighters, which is based in Roma.

Fair Work inspectors audited the company as part of a National Road Transport Campaign last year.

Documents lodged in the Federal Magistrates Court in Brisbane allege South West Express Freighters under-paid 17 employees $68,569 from 2006 to 2008.

It is alleged the company underpaid 14 full-time courier drivers, who transported various merchandise, food and freight, $48,327 by failing to pay their weekend penalty rates and over-time rates.

One of the drivers was allegedly also under-paid meal allowances totalling $4,523 and public holiday rates of $1,232. The under-payments of individual drivers ranged from $59 to $17,835.

The Fair Work Ombudsman further claims the company under-paid two casual administrative workers amounts of $1,178 and $133 by under-paying their minimum hourly rate and underpaid a casual administrative/cleaning worker a total of $13,445 as a result of paying her a flat rate of $11 for all hours worked.

South West Express Freighters repaid all money that was allegedly owing to the workers after negotiations with the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Fair Work Ombudsman Queensland Director Julie Wade says the decision to prosecute was made because of the significant amounts of money involved.

South West Express Freighters allegedly committed several breaches of workplace laws and faces a maximum potential penalty of $33,000 per breach. The case is listed for a directions hearing on October 9.


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