A Melbourne distribution company has collapsed, leaving 120 workers jobless and owed millions in entitlements on the eve of Christmas, a union says.
Employees of Fastline Logistics in Derrimut were told on Thursday the company had been placed in liquidation and told not to return to work on Friday, the CFMEU said.
They were also informed they would not be paid for their work this week, national secretary Jenny Kruschel said.
Ms 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,” she said.
Administrators of the company have been contacted for a response.
The union on Friday morning met with workers who say they are owed annual and long service leave, redundancy, notice periods, wages and superannuation.
“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,” Ms Kruschel said.
“Given many of the workers are migrants with English as a second language, finding alternate employment will be that much more challenging.”
The union is investigating the recent stripping of major assets from 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 worker wages and entitlements, Ms Kruschel said.
The union took action against Fastline earlier this year following revelations 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.”
Fastline distributes products for retail brands and stores.