How does a company get away with owing workers hundreds of thousands of dollars and not paying any super? It happens all the time and this is just one of many stories.
I want to tell you what happened to me and my fellow workmates two years ago when Q structures, company I was working for, closed down, owing me $63,000.
In July 2013, we were busy working and the power went off. We were waiting for a while for the power to come back on until a consultant hired by Q structures came and told us to go home as the power would be off for a while.
That night I got a call from the boss – Paul Maione who said to me:
“Enzo we’ve got bad luck. We’re closing up the company.”
I was shocked to hear this because we had work. We all decided to go to work the next day, but we were locked out. The union came down and we put on a picket, but the police came and told us we weren’t allowed to stand there.
In the next few days, the truth about the loss of entitlements unraveled. I lost 11 weeks of annual leave, Long Service Leave, Redundancy and to top it all off – I was shocked to discover that no super had been paid into my account for a year.
I didn’t think this could happen. I thought that was illegal.
The union helped us calculate what we were owed and they did everything they could to get our money. But the union had their hands tied because of the way the law is written. There are all these loopholes that allow companies to do this. To close down owing people like me a lot of money and the next day they can open again under another name.
I was shocked when I found out how Paul Maione ran his affairs, how he fiddled the books and owed money left right and centre.
Why is this allowed to happen? Why were we in a situation where we lost wages, super and other legal entitlements when he can drive a Maserati and live in his beautiful house? Nothing happened to him. He did not suffer in any way, but he deliberately set out to steal money from his workers – people like me who had worked for him for ten years.
If you are in a position to do anything about this, then you should because this has to stop. These people don’t care about anyone else. They hire lawyers and consultants who advise them how they can use the law to effectively steal from people.
That’s the whole problem. They can get away with it. If not paying super is illegal, then how come Paul Maione got away with it.
What kind of a law is that, if you can break it and nothing happens to you?
If I stole $63,000 from someone, I’d probably go to jail.
I urge you to do something so that the Paul Maiones of this world can’t keep doing this to people.