Grays Logistics guilty of underpaying sub-contractor

NSW logistics firm ordered to reimburse sub-contractor more than $10,000 after underpaying him

By Brad Gardner

A storage and distribution company in New South Wales has been ordered to reimburse a sub-contractor more than $10,000 after being found guilty of underpaying him.

The NSW Industrial Relations Commission found Grays Logistics did not pay owner-driver Robert James Cross all of his entitlements, which included the correct hourly rate, the fuel rebate and kilometre rate.

Although Cross’ entitlement claim was $14,477.94, Commissioner Alistair Macdonald ruled that Grays pay $10,673.94 because it had already reimbursed Cross $3004.

"Accordingly, that latter amount of money needs to be deducted from the total claim of $14,477.94," Macdonald says.

The Commission heard Cross had not been paid for 398 hours of work and did not receive a 2.9 cent fuel surcharge for 7,009km between May 6 and June 26, 2008.

The Transport Workers Union, which represented Cross, argued he had also been denied the correct rope and gear allowance and GST entitlement.

"Mr Cross had contacted the union about his remuneration as he believed he had been underpaid his minimum standards he was entitled to under the Transport Industry (General Carriers) Contract Determination," Macdonald says.

In requesting the claim, the TWU urged the Commission to act swiftly if it ruled in Cross’ favour.

Following a search on the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) website, the TWU found there was an application on July 13 to wind up Grays.

The TWU had previously conducted a company search on March 18 after Brett Gray from Grays allegedly told the union the "company no longer exists and has no money anyway".

However, the Union found Grays was still registered as of March 18.

"The director and secretary is given as Joanne Mary Gray. The current members (and shareholders) of the principle contractor are given as Brett Andrew Gray and Joanne Mary Gray," Macdonald says.

The commission gave Grays 21 days from July 21 to reimburse Cross the money owed to him

The pay dispute was originally due to be settled on March 17, but representatives for Grays did not appear at a compulsory conference. Macdonald says the company also failed to appear at a subsequent conference on May 8.

A hearing was eventually held on July 17, but Grays did not submit any material to or appear before the Commission.

"There was no communication from any person on behalf of the principle contractor," Macdonald says.

However, the Commissioner says Grays was aware of proceedings because TWU official Mark Bell had contacted Brett Gray about the underpayment claim.

The union alleged Gray made out a cheque to Cross to cover the claim but it bounced.

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