The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) are outraged that the Attorney General’s Department were told by Ovato on July 28 of its’ plans to apply to the court for a corporate restructure that saw it later sack 300 of its staff without paying them their redundancies. The government did nothing to protect these workers - it didn't introduce legislation to prevent this abuse of the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) and didn't intervene in the court case to stand up for workers at Ovato.
Workers at Ovato were left without pay or entitlements at Christmas and by Easter some were still waiting to be paid through the FEG. These same workers had fought around the clock in 2020 to support Ovato through the pandemic but were instead burnt by the company and the Morrison Government.
In November last year, the AMWU also wrote to former Attorney-General Christian Porter urging him to intervene in the NSW Supreme Court case that left Ovato workers without pay and entitlements, but he refused.
Attorney-General Christian Porter knew about Australian printing giant Ovato’s plan to restructure months before workers and their union were told and did nothing to protect them.
Quotes attributable to AMWU National Secretary Steve Murphy
“Workers carried our country through the pandemic and now it’s been revealed the Morrison Government had the chance to protect working people at printing giant Ovato and it didn’t.
“Big business and the Morrison Government have colluded to avoid paying Ovato workers what they were owed. The Morrison Government chose to stand by and allow big business to abuse the system.
“It’s cruel that Porter and his department knew about this and did absolutely nothing to stop it. We now have proof how little the Morrison Government cares about protecting working people.
“Our new Attorney-General Michaelia Cash needs to close this loophole – a tool used by big businesses like Ovato to not pay working people what they’re owed.
“The government expects to spend over $850m on the FEG in the next four years. If solvent businesses start using to avoid paying redundancies during corporate restructures. It will be a lot more than that.
“The Ovato case sets a dangerous precedent for big business to shirk their responsibilities to working people, using public money. Enough is enough – this must stop.”
ENDS - For further comment: Kate Shuttleworth [email protected], Warren Tegg 0407 213 681