$20m Caltex fund to cover underpayment claims

Fuel giant Caltex has established a fund to compensate underpaid workers from dozens of its franchisee stores.

Caltex says it is conducting an audit of 133 of its retail sites across the country and has already uncovered “underpayments of entitlements by some franchisees”. The company has terminated agreements with 19 franchisees covering 43 sites for underpayment or “or other non-compliance with workplace-audit requirements”. The audit is ongoing.

“The fund has been established because Caltex wants to do the right thing by franchisee employees,” Caltex said in a statement.

“Caltex has been part of Australian corporate life for more than 115 years and cares deeply about doing the right thing, including by paying fair and reasonable wages.”

The fund will allow franchisee employees to claim underpayments for the period from 2015 to date.

The SDA trade union, which represents workers in petrol stations, has criticised this limited window for claimants.

“Because of the inadequacy of Caltex’s announcement, a number of our clients will once again be left stranded by Caltex,” said SDA Assistant Secretary Josh Peak, who added that the union was aware of the case of one affected man who worked  for a franchisee from as early as 2011.

“Caltex must expand the time period to fully compensate workers employed by these businesses,” he said.

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