FAIR WORK RECOVERS WAGES FOR TEN FILIPINO SEAFARERS

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Fair Work recovers wages for ten Filipino seafarers.

The Australian  Fair Work Ombudsman has recovered $100,649 for ten Filipino seafarers who were underpaid while working in Australian waters.

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The underpayments occurred during voyages that the foreign-flagged vessel conducted in the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone between January and June 2016, travelling between ports in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

During the voyages, the workers were paid base salaries in accordance with international minimum wage rates.

However, the employees should have been paid in accordance with their relevant ranks under Australian workplace laws because the voyages were conducted within Australian waters.

Under Australia’s Seagoing Industry Award 2010 the lowest ranked workers were entitled to receive at least $17.29 per hour and $21.61 for overtime hours.

Meanwhile, the lowest ranked crew members received as little as $5 per hour. The highest amount recovered for an individual worker was up to $16,677.

The Australian Work Ombudsman investigated the matter after receiving a tip-off alleging that the crew of the vessel were not being paid in accordance with the relevant award.

The operator of the vessel, an international company with headquarters outside of Australia, claimed that it was unaware its obligations under Australian workplace laws because it “had never operated voyages within the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone before.”

Fair Work Ombudsman said that minimum rates of pay apply to everyone working in Australia and they are not negotiable.

The company cooperated with Inspectors, rectified the underpayments voluntarily and demonstrated a willingness to learn about and comply with their obligations under the Fair Work system.

Employers, including international businesses that employ workers in Australia, can sign up to the Fair Work Ombudsman’s My Account service to receive email updates on pay rates.

Employers and employees who are seeking advice can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

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