Workers allege $50,000 owing

TWO petrol operators in Wedderburn have allegedly been underpaid almost $50,000 by their employer.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal proceedings against the former operator of Wedderburn Petroleum Pty Ltd, which formerly operated a Caltex petrol station at Wedderburn.

The employees were allegedly underpaid individual amounts of $25,621 and $21,637 after allegedly being paid flat hourly rates ranging from $10 to $15.96 for all hours worked.

This resulted in underpayment of their minimum hourly rate, casual loadings, annual leave entitlements and penalty rates.

The company also allegedly contravened record-keeping and pay slip laws.

The Fair Work Ombudsman discovered the alleged underpayments when it investigated complaints lodged by the employees.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the company failed to rectify the alleged underpayments, despite attempts by inspectors to have it resolve the matter voluntarily. 

She said this was a significant factor in the decision to place the matter before court.

The company faces penalties of $33,000 to $51,000 per breach.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is also seeking a court order for the company to rectify the underpayments in full.

A hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne on March 26 this year. 

The High Street Caltex closed unexpectedly on September 30 last year, leaving eight staff in limbo.

However it re-opened ten days later with new owners and management.

Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au  or contact the Fair Work information line on 13 13 94. 

emma.schenk@fairfaxmedia.com.au 

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