News

Full force of the law

FORMER South Grafton abattoir operator, Stuart Ramsey and his company Ramsey Food Processing have felt the force of the Federal Court which fined them $115,200 yesterday.

Justice Buchanan described Mr Ramsey's attempts to deny $60,000 of entitlements to workers as "a flagrant disregard for their legal rights".

"I regard the breaches in this case as very serious. They appear to me to have involved a deliberate, calculated and systematic refusal to comply with the requirements of the Workplace Relations Act and to take advantage of the vulnerability of the complainant employees," the judge said.

If it wasn't for the fact that things could always get worse he would have handed out the maximum fines possible he said.

As it was Mr Ramsey was fined $19,200 and Ramsey Food Processing Pty Ltd - through which he formerly operated the abattoir - a further $96,000. The combined fine represented 97 % of the maximum allowable under the law.

Former abattoir worker Paul Lumley was owed thousands of dollars by Mr Ramsey.

"It was about time," the courts held him to account, he said.

The attempt by Mr Ramsey to set up shadow companies to avoid worker payments was a sham, the judge said.

Justice Buchanan also noted in 2006, Ramsey shut down four companies he controlled to avoid paying more than $200,000 in fines and back-payment orders imposed by the Federal Court for underpayment of $125,000 in termination entitlements of South Grafton abattoir workers in 2002.

Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson says the near-maximum penalty illustrates repeated, deliberate underpayment of employee entitlements was a very serious matter that will not be tolerated by the Courts.

"This case demonstrates that employers who try to use legal or corporate trickery to avoid paying staff their full entitlements will be held to account," Mr Wilson said.

Topics:  abattoir, federal court, ramsey food processing, workers




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Intrepic wins Guineas Prelude to earn ticket to carnival

KICKED CLEAR: Grafton jockey Matt McGuren steers Intrepic to a comfortable win in race three, the Grafton Guineas Prelude 3YO Country Plate at Grafton yesterday.

July Carnival is officially on its way with first confirmed starter

Yamba whale sighting heralds start of huge season

Ailsa Schilling snapped this magic shot of the humpback whales making their way north past Brooms Hd. Photo Contrib

Whales spotted from Yamba lighthouse for the first time this year

Ghosts, Rebels with plenty of reason to cheer

MACHINE: South Grafton Rebels enforcer Xavier Sullivan produced an 80-minute effort in his side’s 58 to 20 win over Orara Valley Axemen in Group 2 Rugby League at McKittrick Park on Saturday.

Big wins at home for both Grafton sides in Group 2

Latest deals and offers

Perfect time to invest in Northern Rivers property

The Northern Rivers rental market is tighter than Sydney making it the perfect time for investors to get better returns out of property than superannuation or banks deposits.

Low interest rates and tight rental market are prime time to invest