QUBE will have to cough up the maximum seventy weeks of redundancy pay for two workers after losing a Federal Court appeal.
This follows an earlier decision from the old South Australian Industrial Relations Court in favour of the two veteran employees (represented by the Maritime Union), an industrial magistrate having ruled the two employees were entitled to redundancy payments taking into account service with Qube’s predecessors.
Employees Mr Jenkins and Mr Pearce were formerly employed by Qube Ports and were retrenched in August 2014 due to their positions becoming redundant.
Under their 2011 Enterprise Agreement, employees were entitled to a redundancy payment calculated on the basis of three weeks’ pay for each year of continuous service to a maximum payment of 70 weeks’ pay.
The employees started work with Qube Ports on 16 April 2008 at Port Pirie however, they had been previously employed by the predecessors of Qube Ports at Port Pirie and had industry experience back to 1981.
At issue was whether the employees’ service with Qube Ports’ predecessors before 3 April 2000 was “previously agreed industry service” so as to be taken into account in the calculation of their redundancy.
Qube Ports took the view it was not and paid each of the employees a redundancy payment equivalent to 44.76 weeks’ pay based on them having continuous service from 3 April 2000.
The MUA, however, argued the employees’ service before 3 April 2000 should be taken into account, meaning each was entitled to the maximum payment of 70 weeks’ pay.
The MUA contended the employees had “industry service” after 1981 with P&O Ports and Qube Ports had “previously agreed” such service would count in the calculation of the length of continuous service.
An Industrial Magistrate in the IRCSA found in favour of the two workers, that decision being appealed by Qube.
The Federal Court judges this week dismissed the appeal.
“I consider that all of Qube Ports’ grounds of appeal fail,” Justice White stated.
“That makes it unnecessary to consider the MUA’s notice of contention.”