Myer contractor sued by FWO

by John Maguire31 May 2016
Department store Myer has reasserted its co-operation with the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), as legal action is launched against a cleaning contractor alleged to have underpaid employees who cleaned Myer stores in Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania.

The FWO is alleging in the Federal Court that commercial cleaning firm Pioneer Personnel breached the Fair Work Act by underpaying nine employees. The Ombudsman also said that despite holding meetings with Myer over the issue of underpaid workers, the retail chain opted against entering into a ‘compliance partnership’ to address underpayment in its supply chain.

When contacted by HC Online, Myer re-iterated its statement of full co-operation with the FWO’s investigations.

“Myer takes our responsibilities as an Australian employer very seriously and we hold the same concern for the rights and wellbeing of anyone who works in our business,” said the statement.

“In June last year we terminated Pioneer Cleaning Services for being unable to provide us with assurances of its compliance.

“Myer will continue to assist the Fair Work Ombudsman with any enquiries and investigations.”

The Ombudsman alleges that the among the underpaid employees are a number of migrant workers from non-English speaking backgrounds, and that the legal action has been launched “because of concern that the company's alleged non-compliance issues potentially affect a large number of workers, including many vulnerable workers".

In a statement of claim (obtained by Fairfax Media), the Ombudsman noted that since November 2015, Pioneer Personnel “made a number of payments since November 2015, to rectify some of the underpayments" but that “the underpayments have not been fully rectified”.
 

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