Second go at getting lost wages for Thurgoona Take Away, The Rim

LEGAL action has been launched for a second time against the former operators of two Albury food outlets for underpaying workers thousands of dollars.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has begun litigation against Barry Scott Distributors Pty Ltd and its owner, Ian Andrews.

Barry Scott Distributors ran the Thurgoona Takeaway fish and chip shop and Lavington’s The Rim and Wheel Diner.

The diner was owned by Coles Express and leased to Mr Andrews and his wife, Dianne. Both businesses no longer operate.

The latest case involves allegations that Mr Andrews and his company breached workplace laws by underpaying three workers $17,460.

Last year’s action involved allegations that three other workers at the Thurgoona Takeaway were underpaid $62,514 during 2011-12.

That matter remains outstanding.

The ombudsman has lodged documents detailing its latest claims with the Federal Circuit Court.

These involve allegations that another cook employed at Thurgoona Takeaway was underpaid $12,970 between 2011 and last year.

Further, the ombudsman alleges two cooks at The Rim and Wheel Diner were underpaid $4490 last year — one $3375 and the other $1115.

It is claimed that one of the diner’s workers was paid nothing for two weeks’ work.

This was uncovered when Fair Work inspectors received requests for help from the workers.

That led to the ombudsman issuing three formal compliance notices in January.

These gave Mr Andrews 21 days to deal with the underpayments.

But it is claimed that only $400 was paid back — to the cook owed $3375 — despite Mr Andrews allegedly giving “numerous” undertakings that he would do so.

Employers must either act on a compliance notice from Fair Work inspectors or make a court application for a review should they wish to make a challenge.

“In this case, inspectors made extensive efforts to try to resolve the matter by agreement, but were not able to secure sufficient co-operation,” ombudsman Natalie James said.

“Enforcing compliance notices is fundamental for maintaining the integrity of Australia’s workplace laws.”

The matter has been set down for a directions hearing in the Federal Court Circuit in Sydney on September 10.