NT Public Sector wage theft in millions


Hundreds of Northern Territory public service employees are out of pocket millions of dollars, having been underpaid their legal entitlement over the last 20 years.

The Northern Territory Government is dragging their heels to rectify the issue despite acknowledging years ago that workers are owed these legal entitlements.

The Community and Public Sector Union is aware of cases that date back to 2003 and is calling on the Gunner Government to make good on restitution offers now.

There are hundreds of current wage theft cases that the Gunner Government is yet to rectify including:

  • Education Department workers not paid entitlements worth over $1 million due to a NT Commissioner for Public Employments’ Determination undermining successive agreements. It is years since CPSU and members raised this issue and despite agreeing to calculations and amounts, still no payments have been made to workers.
  • CPSU members took the issue of shift workers not being paid their public holiday rates to the Fair Work Commission at the end of 2020. The FWC directed the workers to be back paid. While the government claims over $1.5 million has been paid out already, the union has not been provided with any genuine or comprehensive reports to confirm this claim. There are still hundreds of workers waiting for this compensation.
  • Attorney General’s Department is still to finalise agreed back pay for unpaid on-call payments overtime, to a group of workers, with one retired officer still owed in excess of $25,000.
  • DIIT and Territory Families workers who are rostered to take calls or undertake call outs outside of normal hours have not been paid correctly for their on-call allowances or for the additional hours they have worked. These phone calls in the early hours of the morning disturb their sleep and their households. Again, despite agreement that monies are owed, it taken years for a small number of payments made, but many are still outstanding.
  • Many workers including Rangers, health, child protection and education workers, geologists, scientists, surveyors and technicians travel all around the Territory. Travelling for a week or so and camping out is common for a lot of NT employees. Agency policy documents have ignored entitlements prescribed in the enterprise agreements for compensation for this travel and hardship for workers who need to do regional travel to inspect and test and investigate all around the Territory.

CPSU NT Regional Secretary, Kay Densley said, “With the NT Government wage freeze policy locked in for four long years, and inflation and cost of living rising, this is just another slap in the face for workers who do important work for all Territorians.

“If overpayments accidently occur the money is recouped quickly, sometimes before employees actually have the evidence of why they were overpaid. Why are all these underpayments not as important?”

“It’s time for the Gunner Government to resolve all outstanding wage theft cases. CPSU members are calling on the Chief Minister to intervene and ensure that known outstanding monies are paid now, and that there is a comprehensive audit of all departments and any monies owed to employees and ex-employees be made this year.

“Wage theft is real theft; NT public service workers deserve their fair pay. Workers should not have to pursue their employers for years to ensure they are paid their legal entitlements.”

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