FIFO COURT WIN ON DARWIN GAS PROJECT

Etu National

The Electrical Trades Union has secured victory in its efforts to recover wages withheld from workers at a Darwin gas project by contracting company Kentz Australia after the full bench of the Fair Work Commission failed to find that that Kentz had the right to direct their workers to take unpaid rest and recreation leave during their notice period.

The ETU initially took action in January to recover wages on behalf of electrical workers employed on the $30 billion Inpex Icthys project off Darwin.

The Fair Work Commission decided in the ETU’s favour, with Kentz Australia appealing to the full bench.

Today’s decision from the full bench, while noting that the original decision contained certain errors, reiterated the need for Kentz to make restitution to their workers. 

“This is a legally complex case where there are jurisdictional and technical points at play,” ETU national legal officer Michael Wright said.

“The upshot of today’s decision is that Kentz will be required to pay more than 150 workers the wages they are owed under their agreement.”

Mr Wright said that the ETU would now seek to pursue wages withheld in similar circumstances on FIFO sites around the country.  

“Enterprise agreements on many of these these sites contain clauses similar to the one in the Kentz EBA that would prevent workers from having their wages withheld because they have been directed to take rest and recreation at the end of their time on the project,” he said.

“We are confident that we can recover wages owed to workers on other large FIFO sites in light of today’s decision,” he said.

Media enquiries: Lachlan Williams 0447 682 027, lachlan@etuaustralia.org.au

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