The Fair Work Ombudsman has published a report on its compliance partnership with United Trolley Collections Pty Ltd (UTC), Australia’s largest trolley collection company.
UTC engages independent contractors to provide trolley collection services to large retail businesses such as Coles, Woolworths, Kmart, Target and Big W. In 2014, UTC signed a proactive compliance deed, committing to a range of measures aimed at improving workplace compliance in its network.
During the partnership, UTC completed nine audits of its subcontractors which saw compliance levels significantly improve. One audit that covered more than 1100 trolley collectors found close to 95 per cent were being paid correctly.
UTC also resolved 90 workplace disputes following requests for assistance from workers. Together, audits and resolution of disputes led to total recoveries of $89,476 for workers. UTC rectified all breaches, conducted follow up audits, and in the most serious cases, terminated the services of non-compliant subcontractors.
UTC also improved management of its supply chain by introducing a mobile phone app, which enabled workers to more easily view their entitlements, lodge queries about their employment with head office, view rosters and timesheets, and clock on and off via their mobile phones.
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said that the proactive compliance deed supported the agency’s broader efforts to improve workplace compliance for vulnerable workers.
“Trolley collection has been an area of focus for the Fair Work Ombudsman for several years as high numbers of vulnerable workers are employed in the sector, including visa holders. I am pleased that UTC has improved compliance across its network and taken responsibility to help ensure workers are being treated lawfully,” Ms Parker said.
During the partnership, the Fair Work Ombudsman commenced litigation against one subcontractor, Joban’s Trolley Collection Pty Ltd, for underpaying two employees nearly $30,000 and using false records to deceive UTC. In April 2018 the court penalised Joban’s more than $230,000, by which time UTC had terminated the subcontractor’s services.