Adelaide Company Fined For Underpaying Trolley Collectors

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15th November 2009, 12:00pm - Views: 580





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Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 





Media Release





        

15 Nov 2009


Adelaide company and director fined for

underpaying trolley collectors $120,000

An Adelaide company and its director have been fined almost $50,000 for

deliberately underpaying 51 supermarket trolley collectors a total of $120,000.

The Industrial Relations Court of South Australia has imposed the penalty

following a prosecution by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

NMD Investments Pty Ltd has been fined $41,000 and the company’s sole director

and manager Giuseppe Placanica, of Lockleys, a further $7850. 

NMD Investments, which was based at Lockleys before it ceased trading in

December 2007, has also been ordered to back-pay the money it owes its former

employees.

The trolley collectors were paid as little as $10 an hour but were entitled to

receive more than $15 an hour.

Three collectors were underpaid more than $10,000 each and 13 were short-

changed more than $3000 each.

They collected trolleys for NMD at shopping centres at Burnside, Unley, Firle,

Fulham Gardens, Seaford, Greenacres and Welland.

NMD Investments variously had direct contracts or sub-contracts at these sites.

Fair Work Ombudsman South Australian Director Carey Trundle says the

workplace watchdog views the exploitation of vulnerable workers very seriously.

“Short-changing low-paid trolley collectors is something we won’t tolerate and

clearly the court has taken a dim view of this behaviour as well,” she said. 

Placanica admitted in court he was centrally involved in NMD paying the trolley

collectors significantly below the Federal Minimum Wage when it employed them

on a casual basis for various lengths of time between March 2006 and December

2007.

Placanica also admitted being involved in NMD Investments failing to keep proper

pay and employment records and failing to issue payslips.

Industrial Magistrate Richard Hardy found that NMD Investments and Placanica

had committed “deliberate, ongoing and repeated breaches” of workplace laws.


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People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 2 image






Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 


2

IM Hardy rejected Placanica’s submission that NMD Investments could escape its

obligation to pay employees the minimum rate because of financial difficulties. 

“Regardless of the size of the employer or its financial difficulty, it is not able to

breach an Award,” he said in his judgment.

“Even with limited assets, a company is still obliged to meet its statutory

obligations.”

The Fair Work Ombudsman discovered NMD Investments was underpaying its

employees when it audited the company in late 2007 as part of a wider

investigation into the trolley collecting industry.


The prosecution of NMD Investments and Placanica is the latest in a number of

court actions the Fair Work Ombudsman has taken against trolley collecting

service providers:



Adelaide company M & K Angeloupoulos Pty Ltd was fined $40,000 this

year for underpaying six trolley collectors about $30,000,



Two directors of Adelaide company Risborg Services Pty Ltd were fined a

total of $26,730 last year for their involvement in Risborg underpaying 64

trolley collectors more than $170,000, and



In Victoria last year, trolley collecting company Xidis Pty Ltd was fined

$120,000 for underpaying 42 of its workers in Albury $100,000. 


The Fair Work Ombudsman promotes harmonious, productive and co-operative

workplaces. It also monitors compliance and investigates breaches of national

workplace laws.


Employers or employees seeking assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline

on 13 13 94 or visit www.fwo.gov.au For translations call 13 14 50.





Media inquiries: 


Craig Bildstien, Director Media & Stakeholder Relations. 0419 818 484.

craig.bildstien@fwo.gov.au


Ryan Pedler, Senior Adviser Media & Stakeholder Relations. (03) 9954

2561, 0434 365 924. ryan.pedler@fwo.gov.au






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