Indigenous workers benefit from FWBC Enforceable Undertaking with QLD company

A construction company has back-paid $111,146 in unpaid wages and entitlements to 62 workers, many of whom are indigenous. Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC) has reached an out-of-court agreement with the company, which has agreed to donate $15,000 towards a training program for indigenous school leavers.

The company, Remote Building Solutions (Qld) Pty Ltd, typically works on projects in remote indigenous Queensland communities including Bamaga, Murray Island, Palm Island, Doomadgee, Arukun, Mornington Island, Lockhart River, Woorabinda and Badu Island and employs a majority of indigenous staff.

FWBC Director Val Gostencnik said the underpayments had gone under the radar due to the workers’ remoteness and vulnerability.

“Remote Building Solutions back-paid the underpayments when these were brought to its attention. This Enforceable Undertaking has ensured the workers were back-paid faster than if the matter had gone through the courts and the company has improved its business systems which should prevent the need for future back-payments,” Mr Gostencnik said.

“Remote Building Solutions’ contribution towards a training course for indigenous school leavers will benefit the individuals who undertake the course, the local industry and the wider community. By brokering this Enforceable Undertaking, rather than taking the matter to court, FWBC and the company have also saved taxpayers’ money.”

 After an audit of their books, FWBC determined that Remote Building Solutions:

  • failed to pay employees the correct wages and entitlements - in contravention of s45 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act)
  • did not give a number of employees a Fair Work Information Statement when they started work – in contravention of s125 of the FW Act and
  • did not provide pay slips in accordance with s536 of the FW Act.

Remote Building Solutions admitted these contraventions and agreed to rectify them by:

  • back-paying 62 employees $100,672 in wages and entitlements and $10,474 in superannuation (which was paid in April 2013)
  • donating $15,000 to for a 12-week pre-employment training program for indigenous school leavers
  • implementing better systems to ensure it complies with Commonwealth workplace laws, and
  • ensuring staff responsible for human resource and payroll responsibilities attend an accredited training course which provides an overview of workers’ rights and responsibilities.

Enforceable Undertakings are just one of the many regulatory options available to FWBC.

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