Cameron avoids redundancy payouts as Orora deal ends


Fair Work commissioner sides with company on employees' refusal of new roles

Cameron avoids redundancy payouts as Orora deal ends
FWC rules Cameron Group offered suitable replacement positions.

 

The Glen Cameron Group has avoided redundancy payments for 19 workers who finished up with the company at the end of a key contract.

Seventeen of the staff from a mixture of driving and fleet management roles refused offers of alternative work when the company wound up its relationship with Orora in western Sydney at the end of last year.

They argued the jobs were not acceptable for different reasons.

Some told the Fair Work Commission (FWC) that their alternative option was in a different location, while others also complained of having later start times that would see their commutes to work affected by traffic.

One noted that he was already on a final warning with the Glen Cameron Group and had been keen to refresh his slate with another employer.

An inventory manager and a fleet manager were offered similar positions on another Glen Cameron site, but both rejected these because they noted that the roles were already being performed by someone else.

They doubted the positions were "genuine" and say they therefore lacked the job security that their previous roles had offered.

The Transport Workers Union, which represented the staff, argued the job offers were "insincere".

"The application [to withhold redundancy payments] ought to be dismissed as the company has not ‘obtained’ acceptable alternative employment," the union argues.

"In the alternative, the Commission ought to exercise its discretion and refuse to grant a variation in the redundancy pay due to employees due to the scant details available to employees when offered a position."

But the FWC sided with the company, with commissioner Michael Roberts indicating several staff had not accepted different employment because they had wrongly assumed they would be entitled to redundancy payments.

"I have carefully examined everything … and have concluded that each [respondent] was individually offered a suitable alternative position by Cameron but chose [with the exception of two who did accept alternative roles] not to take it up for varying reasons, none of which constituted a reasonable refusal," he says.

"I have also concluded and find that the fact that not every alternative role was in existence at the time it was offered to a redundant employee does not act to de-legitimise the offer."

Several of the employees have since taken up roles with DGL, which won the Orora contract.

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