The AMWU has vowed to support its members that were made redundant at Clive Palmer’s Queensland Nickel last week, saying it will do everything in its power to “maximise the chances” for the laid-off workers to be paid their entitlements in full.
The announcement comes a week after the company axed 237 workers at its nickel refinery in Townsville, blaming falling nickel prices and the “lack of support from the Queensland government” for the move.
“Our members can keep in mind that we will be leaving no stone unturned to recover their entitlements in full, money they are owed which Clive Palmer has wasted,” said AMWU Queensland Secretary Rohan Webb.
Administrators FTI Consulting have told the AMWU that the company will prioritise paying employees over owing creditors, but then stated that it lacks the funds to pay about $70 million to creditors unless it manages to “trade its way out of trouble” or find a buyer in coming months.
Mr Webb said the AMWU would join other unions seeking to hold the administrators to giving workers priority over creditors including Aurizon, the Port of Townsville and Clive Palmer’s own companies rather than being “thrown back on the Government’s Fair Entitlements Guarantee scheme”.
Former AMWU delegate Jodie Donovan said he was owed tens of thousands of dollars by QN and others were owed up to $167,000.
According to him, members needed more information on their legal rights as creditors and how the FEG operated if necessary to access it.
“I’m tiring of hearing words from everyone, from the company, until we see cash in the bank it means little to me,” Mr Donovan said.
“Unemployment is already 13 per cent here, I’m worried for other guys – it’s sickening they sacked 17 apprentices when some people in management are still sitting out there.”