State politicians have turned their backs on Pacific Highway workers and subcontractors caught in the Ostwald Brothers collapse, according to the CFMEU.
State politicians have turned their backs on Pacific Highway workers and subcontractors caught in the Ostwald Brothers collapse, according to the CFMEU. Contributed

Unpaid workers' plea for help falls on deaf ears

STATE politicians have turned their backs on Pacific Highway workers and subcontractors caught in the Ostwald Brothers collapse, according to the CFMEU.

Northern NSW CFMEU officials have accused local MPs including NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey of failing to assist workers who face losing thousands of dollars in entitlements still owing.

The CFMEU claims the government is failing local workers by failing to act.

Organiser Dean Rielly said it was outrageous that the local MP, who was also Roads Minister, would not step up and help workers.

"We have a lot of questions that need answering, but the company and Pacific Highway contractor Seymour White refuse to meet with the workers or their representatives,” Mr Rielly said.

"It is time for Ms Pavey to do what local parliamentarians are meant to do and stand up for their constituents.”

He said the Australian Building and Construction Commission and the NSW Construction Compliance Unit had failed to investigate the practices of Ostwald Brothers.

"We have a host of government organisations that are meant to ensure companies do not rip off workers and not one of them has stepped up to the plate for the workers on the Pacific Highway upgrade. It's a disgrace.

Workers have lost wages, backpay, superannuation and other entitlements as a result of the company collapse.

Under federal legislation lead contractor Pacific Complete - a subsidiary of Laing O'Rourke - must ensure all workers were being paid their legal entitlements such as superannuation.

The Daily Examiner contacted the office of Ms Pavey for comment this week. An office spokesman said the NSW Government was focused on finding alternative projects for the workers and subcontractors affected, but did not comment on the issue of whether their financial losses would ever be recovered.

"The Minister recently met with some of the people affected by the Ostwald Bros collapse,” the spokesman said.

"We are doing what we can to ensure they get work on other sections of the highway.”



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