Workers milked dry by agency
CONTRACTED dairy workers facing a bleak Christmas without pay continue to turn up for work at Raleigh Norco Depot in the good faith a financially troubled recruitment agency will settle its dues.
More than 40 casual employees are facing a third week unpaid, because labour hire agency Advantage Recruitment has closed its doors.
The company, which sources employees for Norco and Fonterra, has closed seven of its offices nationally, including its Coffs Harbour premises.
Out-of-pocket workers say the banks and creditors have started to ring, and they’re borrowing money for fuel to get to and from work.
One employee, a young father, said he has taken out a high interest loan to cover the rent, while there are reports other workers quit.
“We have no money in the bank, the bills are stacking up and there’s the rough idea we might get paid on Friday, or maybe in January,” one worker said.
In a positive, Fonterra and Norco executives have met with Skilled Coffs Harbour in the hope of transferring affected workers on to their books.
“I can confirm we are holding discussions and the main focus of Fonterra and Norco is on reaching a resolution for the workers,” Skilled Coffs Harbour manager Les Cohen said.
“Everyone at the end of the day wants to see the workers on the floor paid their full entitlements.”
Government agency Keeping Australia Working is monitoring the situation.
Former Advantage Recruitment CEO Gavin Taylor has distanced himself from the company saying he resigned in August as ‘the writing was on the wall’.
A Fonterra Co-operative Group spokesperson said the pay dispute rests with labour hire company Adrec Holdings Pty Ltd, trading as Advantage Recruitment.
In a recorded phone message the recruitment company is telling workers: ‘If you are ringing regarding your pay, unfortunately we have had no more information regarding the funds. We are waiting on advice from our director.”