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Workers from Melba Textiles, where 170 jobs are to be lost following the company going into liquidation late last week, are rallying with their supporters in Geelong today to demand the payment of $9million of their entitlements. The workers will protest outside the Centrelink office in Geelong where 120 of the company’s 170 workers are based.
Ms Michele O’Neil, National Secretary of the Textile Clothing & Footwear Union of Australia (‘TCFUA’) said the workers were calling on the Rudd Government to keep to their election commitment to protect 100% of workers’ entitlements during company collapses.
Workers at Melba stand to receive less than half of the $9million owed to them through the Government’s General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme (GEERS). Many of the Melba workers have worked for the company for decades and stand to lose significant amounts of money due to the collapse.
‘The Government has done nothing to change Australian Corporations’ law which puts banks above workers when companies collapse and does not make the directors liable for failing to protect workers entitlements’ Ms O’Neil said.
‘Where workers can get some of their entitlements back through GEERS, they often have to wait up to 6 months. That is completely unacceptable and imposes unjustifiable hardship upon Australian workers.’
‘In the case of our members at Melba, GEERS will cover less than half of their entitlements. It’s a disgrace that this can happen and that the directors of the company, who repeatedly told the workers that their entitlements were safe, will not be held responsible’ Ms O’Neil continued.
‘These workers are walking out with nothing in their pockets and will be forced to head straight to Centrelink.’ Ms O’Neil said.
8:45am, Tuesday 5 May 2009
Centrelink Geelong office, 170 Little Malop Street, Geelong
For further information please contact TCFUA National Secretary Michele O’Neil on 0419 338 853