Fair Work Ombudsman alleges four oil rig workers underpaid more than $120,000

Note: The Fair Work Ombudsman’s legal action against Pocomwell Limited, Supply Oilfield and Marine Services Inc, Survey Spec Pty Ltd and Thomas Civiello has been dismissed by order of the Federal Court on November 1, 2013. The Fair Work Ombudsman is currently considering the Court’s judgment.

27 June 2011

Note: Reference to prosecution in this media release is a general reference to the FWO commencing proceedings for the imposition of civil penalties and should not be taken to be a reference to criminal proceedings.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched a prosecution against three companies and one company director over more than $120,000 in alleged underpayments of four Filipino nationals who worked on oil rigs off Western Australia.

Facing court are:

  • Hong Kong-based company Pocomwell Ltd,
  • Philippines-based company Supply Oilfield & Marine Personnel Services Inc,
  • Western Australian-based company SurveySpec Pty Ltd, and
  • SurveySpec's sole director, Thomas Civiello.

In prosecution documents lodged in the Federal Court in Perth, the Fair Work Ombudsman alleges the three companies and Mr Civiello were involved in underpaying four Filipino workers a total of $127,425.

It is alleged the underpayments occurred when the four men were working as specialist marine painters on two North West Shelf oil rigs between July, 2009 and March, 2011.

The two oil rigs were operated by international shipping company Maersk.

It is alleged the men, who were in Australia on sub-class 456 visas, worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week but were paid only US$900 per month.

However, it is alleged that because the oil rigs were in Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone, the men were entitled to be paid the minimum wage rates, allowances, overtime rates and weekend and public holiday rates applicable in Australia.

It is alleged the failure to pay these rates resulted in the men being underpaid amounts ranging from $25,733 to $37,537.

Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson says it is alleged the three companies and Mr Civiello were involved in 11 breaches of workplace law.

The three companies each face maximum penalties of $33,000 per breach and Mr Civiello faces maximum penalties of $6600 per breach.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is also seeking a Court Order for Pocomwell to rectify the alleged underpayments. A directions hearing is listed for August 12.

Employers or employees seeking assistance should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or visit www.fairwork.gov.au. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

Media inquiries:

Ryan Pedler, Senior Adviser, Media & Stakeholder Relations
(03) 9954 2561, 0411 430 902
ryan.pedler@fwo.gov.au

Note: The Fair Work Ombudsman's legal action against Pocomwell Limited, Supply Oilfield and Marine Services Inc, Survey Spec Pty Ltd and Thomas Civiello has been dismissed by order of the Federal Court on November 1, 2013. The Fair Work Ombudsman is currently considering the Court's judgment.

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