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CMI workers to get government payout

Relief: Sacked CMI workers are looking forward to receiving GEERS redundancy payments after minister Bill Shorten agreed to fast-track the process.

GEERS payments fast-tracked to sacked workers from failed car parts supplier CMI

General News logo10 May 2012

SACKED workers from failed car part supplier CMI Industrial will receive fast-tracked payments from the government’s General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme (GEERS), it has been announced.

Workers are not usually entitled to the payments until a company has gone into liquidation, but CMI’s receiver, McGrathNicol, took the controversial step of laying off workers during the administration period without any form of payment.

At the request of the Australian Manufacturing Worker’s Union (AMWU), employment and workplace relations minister Bill Shorten agreed to release the payments early, relieving sacked workers of potentially serious cash-flow problems while they look for work.

“This means that workers can access their unpaid entitlements sooner and not have to wait until the company goes into liquidation later this month,” said Mr Shorten.

“The collapse of the company represents exceptional circumstances. I am satisfied that my decision today is consistent with the intention of the scheme and is not being used to facilitate business restructuring.

“After receiving clear advice from administrators today that CMI will go into liquidation, we can now move to ensure workers can access GEERS assistance faster.”

GEERS assists redundant workers with up to three months’ unpaid wages, unpaid long service leave, unpaid annual leave, up to five weeks’ pay in lieu of notice and redundancy pay capped at four weeks for each year of service.

CMI workers are reportedly eligible for a minimum payment of $30,000.

 center imageHowever, AMWU assistant state secretary Leigh Deihm – who travelled to Canberra yesterday for talks with Mr Shorten – told GoAuto that outstanding superannuation payments will not be covered by GEERS.

“We have members that are owed up to 12 months of superannuation payments and that could range into around $1.5 million of outstanding super,” said Mr Deihm.

“We are going to be fighting that through the administration to try and retrieve as much as practically possible.”

CMI’s collapse two weeks ago caused Ford Australia to suspend Falcon and Territory production for two working days when the CMI Campbellfield site that supplies Ford was locked down by the landlord following a rent dispute.

Mr Deihm told GoAuto two workers from the Campbellfield site were among the 44 sacked.

He confirmed further terminations were on hold due to the increased workload and said it was too early to tell whether more redundancies will take place on top of the 44 already sacked.

“A priority is to work with the receivers and administrators to have the company sold as a going concern so we can keep these four factories running,” he said.

“I have no doubt this company will go into liquidation, but that does not mean the company or the four factories can’t be sold as going concerns and we are very hopeful that they are sold as going concerns.”

Mr Deihm said the AMWU shipped around 200 CMI workers to the first creditors’ meeting on Tuesday and that he is appealing to the administrators to bring the second meeting forward from the scheduled May 30.

“There were a whole range of questions that were unfortunately not answered by the administrators (at the creditors’ meeting) and we are working through those questions with them at the moment.”

Mr Shorten also stepped in to ensure the quick release of GEERS payments to sacked workers from another vehicle component supplier, APV, when it went into liquidation early last month.

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