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SA workers at loggerheads with OneFortyOne

Workers at the state-run Forestry SA are refusing to accept a transfer to a private company because their existing redundancy entitlements were left off the new contract. Source: 9News

OneFortyOne Plantations is set to take over from Forestry SA in managing forests and timber plantations in the state’s southeast. Workers had to sign off on the contract transfer, but the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) says most of 60 or so affected have not.

“They will honour the existing terms and conditions with the exception of the redundancy clause,” CFMEU district organiser Travis Lawson said.

Mr Lawson said Forestry SA had not only failed to consult with workers on the transfer but provided them with misleading information.

“When they made the announcement they told employees that nothing was going to change for them – just the name on the uniform,” he said. “But that’s not the case. They’ve been misled.”

Mr Lawson said the existing redundancy package at Forestry SA was far more generous than the one they would receive if they signed on to transfer.

The maximum redundancy entitlement under the national employment standard, which OneFortyOne is offering, is 12 weeks pay.

“When you’re talking about someone who has been employed at Forestry SA for 20 or 30 years, they could be entitled to 52 weeks pay,” he said.

Mr Lawson said the union and workers wanted the transfer, but they wanted it done fairly.

Later a spokeswoman for OneFortyOne Plantations chief executive Linda Sewell said all of the eligible workers have now signed a new contract with the company. But Mr Lawson said he understands that this hasn’t happened.

“My last contact with the workers this afternoon was that no, not everyone is signing (with OneFortyOne Plantations),” he said.

The CFMEU and Forestry SA will meet in Adelaide for an Industrial Relations Commission hearing in the hope of resolving the dispute.