Christmas cash for dairy workers

CONTRACTED dairy workers at the Norco Depot at Raleigh will get some cash for Christmas.

Dairy giant Fonterra has brokered a deal with labour hire company Skilled to cover the debts of the financially troubled employment agency, Advantage Recruitment, which left them out of pocket.

The 40 or so contracted casual workers can sign onto the books of Skilled Coffs Harbour, meaning they’ll be compensated in time for Christmas.

The workers have been owed three weeks pay after the financially troubled Advantage Recruitment shut its offices around the country.

“It’s more of a relief than a celebration,” affected worker Bryce Whelan said.

“We are just so happy our pays are going to go through either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day – it’s a great thing,” he said.

The workers will receive their unpaid wages in lump-sum payments into their bank accounts, meaning they’ll incur a higher rate of tax.

But for now, money for the Christmas break is what matters most.

“It’s great news, and gives me hope about getting shifts back at the depot, now that Skilled are involved,” said worker Tyson Hatton, who quit his job to report Advantage Recruitment to NSW Fair Trading.

Dairy giant Fonterra, which runs the Norco depot, has swiftly terminated its arrangement with Adrec Holdings Pty Ltd, trading as Advantage Recruitment.

This came after the recruitment agency closed its offices around the country, including the Coffs Harbour premises in Elbow Street.

A Fonterra spokesperson said: “If employees register with Skilled and are assigned to the Fonterra Raleigh Distribution Centre, Fonterra has arranged for Skilled to compensate them for the hours worked at Raleigh and not paid by Advantage Recruitment,” the spokeswoman said.

“All efforts are being made to ensure the affected employees receive compensation by Christmas,” she said.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Advantage Recruitment employees.

Its two Coffs Harbour staff members are yet to be paid in full by the company.

It remains unclear whether Advantage’s reported collapse has impacted on other Coffs Coast companies.

The company has had dealings locally in the timber, sawmill, construction and transport industries.

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