Thursday, August 23, 2007

Don't sign AWAy your redundancy pay

At least 30 workers who were recently laid off when a Queensland abattoir went into receivership will not receive redundancy payments because they signed Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs).

The Queensland president of the Australasian Meat Industry Employees' Union (AMIEU), Russell Carr, says anyone who has signed an individual workplace agreement now should be rushing to check the fine print.

South Burnett Beef went into receivership in May, with a debt of $16.5 million.

The company has been forced to lay off around 350 workers at the Murgon abattoir.

Mr Carr says that when about 30 of the workers lodged claims for their entitlements, they were dealt another painful blow.

"These people came up to us and explained that they've been told they weren't going to receive any redundancy because they signed an AWA," he said.

"We got those people to give us a copy of the AWA and we've had two different sets of legal opinions and both of them said that those employees had lost their entitlements through signing the AWA."

Mr Carr says the meatworkers who chose to stay on their collective agreement will receive their full entitlements.


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