A MAJOR Melbourne distribution company has collapsed on the eve of Christmas, with 120 workers left without a job and unsure whether the company has the ability to pay millions of dollars in unpaid entitlements.
Employees of Fastline Logistics in Derrimut, in Melbourne’s west, were called into a meeting half an hour before their shifts finished yesterday (Thursday December 20), with management informing them that the company had been placed into liquidation and that they should not come to work today. They were also informed that they would not be paid for their work this week.
Fastline’s website, which has now been shut down, previously bragged that the company was one of Australia’s leading third-party distribution services, specialising in distributing products for a range of retail brands and individual stores.
The Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) this morning met with Fastline workers, which revealed that millions of dollars is owed to staff for entitlements including annual and long service leave, redundancy, notice periods, wages and superannuation.
CFMEU Textile Clothing Footwear national secretary Jenny Kruschel said the collapse would have a devastating impact on many workers.
“Many of these 120 workers have given years of loyal service to this company, yet they were given less than an hour’s notice that they no longer have a job, won’t be paid for their work this week, and are unlikely to receive the entitlements legally owed to them,” Ms Kruschel said.
“We are also investigating the recent stripping of major assets out of Fastline to another corporate entity, Global Fashion Service, which appears to be a deliberate attempt to leave only a shell behind that does not have the resources to pay the wages and entitlements of workers.
“For many workers, including loyal long-serving staff, this collapse is a devastating financial blow right on the eve of Christmas which will leave them in serious financial distress over the holiday period.
“Given many of the workers are migrants with English as a second language, finding alternate employment will be that much more challenging.”
The union said it had been forced to take action against Fastline earlier this year following revelations that superannuation was not being paid, recovering more than $600,000 for workers.
“Thankfully, our efforts to recover this money before the company collapsed provides one piece of positive news for workers, but it does highlight the fact that management appear to have been dipping into employee entitlements to keep the business afloat,” Ms Kruschel said.
“Now, with the company being liquidated and major assets already stripped out, workers appear unlikely to see most of the unpaid wages, leave, and other entitlement owed to them.”