Long TWU Push Gets Worker Paid

Release date: 12/04/2013

The TWU are sending a clear message to companies and bosses who don’t obey the rules and deny workers what they are entitled to with a recent victory for a member working for Veolia. The member has now been granted 20 weeks redundancy payments.

Wayne Forno, Big Rigs TWU News, 2 April 2013

This week the Transport Workers Union is proud to report a successful outcome for one of our members working at waste company Veolia.

The Industrial Court of NSW found TWU member Aneterea Latai had been made redundant without pay and ordered the company to pay him up to 20 weeks in redundancy payments.

Our member’s success is a real victory given the length of time this battle was dragged through various hearings in the last few years.

Mr Latai was working for Veolia initially as a casual and a year later, as a permanent from 1996 until March 2010, when he was dismissed following the company’s loss of a contract with Sydney City Council.

Mr Latai was not given any prior notice of termination, but merely told on the day he turned up for work on March 9, 2010, that it was to be his last shift.

The TWU, citing a number of cases dating back to the ’80s as precedent, argued that workers should be entitled to redundancy payments unless there had been serious misconduct on their part.

The union also argued the fact that Mr Latai was a permanent worker who had a reasonable expectation his employment would continue.

The fact that Veolia lost its contract with Sydney City Council was irrelevant. Mr Latai was entitled to expect his work to continue given he was working on a permanent basis with Veolia; he had a stable history with the company and was not a seasonal or casual worker.

The Industrial Court of NSW agreed with arguments submitted by the TWU that if companies like Veolia were allowed to dismiss anyone without redundancy payments just because they lost a contract, most workers would be in dire straits and left vulnerable to exploitation. The court decided that Mr Latai was entitled to redundancy pay and in March ordered Veolia to pay him his 20 weeks owing.

I congratulate our member, our legal team and TWU members who fought hard and persevered for years to see this case through to victory.

This victory sends a clear message to companies and bosses who are tempted to bend or break the rules.

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