Pilbara mine employees reimbursed almost $250k

Thirteen mine workers have received a sum of $240,600 in back pay from a labour hire company after not receiving their termination entitlements at a mine in the Pilbara.

After less than a year of service, the workers were stood down when their host employer cancelled its work at the mine. The workers did not receive their redundancy, outstanding wages, accrued annual leave, location allowances or project incentive payments as per their agreement with the company.

The host organisation and the labour hire company had an agreement to transfer the employees between during the stand down, it was breached by the host organisation, creating a dispute over who was the legal employer on the date of termination.

The workers turned to the Fair Work Ombudsman after they failed to find out who was legally responsible for paying their termination entitlements.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said the labour hire company reimbursed all entitlements after taking responsibility, with the largest amount back paid to an individual at $22,500.

She said it emphasised the importance of employers ensuring they understand issues related to transfer of business and employees, and are aware of their workplace obligations.

Earlier this year former employees of the folded company Kagara Mining received their full entitlements following the sale of their assets to a private equity firm.

Prior to the administration, the company sacked 130 workers from its Queensland and Perth operations in order to continue operations.