November 2012 Industry Update

Leigh Johns sets the record straight on recovery of wages and entitlements

FWBC Chief Executive Leigh Johns recently announced that the agency has recovered more than $1.2m in wages and entitlements for nearly 1000 workers in Australia’s construction industry.

In a speech last month, Mr Johns stated that one of the first things he did as Agency head was take on the investigation of underpayments of wages and entitlements, rather than refer them to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

“Since we started pursuing wages and entitlements claims we have recovered more than $1.2 million for underpaid building and construction workers. I'm incredibly proud of this achievement,” he said.

“FWBC's efforts in relation to underpaid building and construction workers have been more successful than when the FWO did this work for building and construction workers.

“Building and construction workers know now where to go to get assistance,” he said.

Mr Johns stated that FWO did a “great job” but FWBC has had such great success because it deals specifically and exclusively with the construction industry.

The decision to take on investigations into the recovery of wages and entitlements was consistent with the recommendation of Royal Commissioner Cole, that the industry specialist regulator should “assist building and construction workers in the regulated community to recover under-payments when they seek our assistance.”

Mr Johns highlighted that other regulatory priorities have not been neglected as a result of FWBC’s investigation into the underpayment of wages and entitlements.

In the past year, while recovering $721,368 (2012/13 FY) on behalf of employees, FWBC has investigated:

  • 12 per cent more UIA matters than in the past year;

  • 26 per cent more coercion matters than in the past year;

  • 47 per cent more matters overall than in the previous year and 54 per cent more matters than in the year before that.

“The factual conclusion is that FWBC is investigating more unlawful industrial action and coercion matters than in the past - not less,” Mr Johns said.

If you think you may have been underpaid wages or entitlements, please contact FWBC on 1800 003 338 or through the website.
 

Further information:

FWBC Media Release - FWBC announces $1M recovery milestone for building and construction workers

Leigh Johns Speech – Address to the 2012 AMMA West Coast Conference

FWBC Website – Wages and Entitlements

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