Komatsu blames typo for workers’ bonus bungle that falls foul of Fair Work Act


October 02, 2019 10:15:02

One of the world’s biggest mining equipment suppliers has described a typographical error in an enterprise agreement that would have represented thousands of extra dollars in workers’ pockets as an “honest mistake”.

Key points:

  • Komatsu Australia is fined in the Industrial Magistrates Court over breaches of the Fair Work Act
  • The company blames a “typo” in the enterprise agreement covering workers at Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s Super Pit gold mine
  • Union says Komatsu is “clutching at straws” and accuses it of gouging workers’ pay

Japanese multinational Komatsu employs more than 3,400 people across its Oceania business.

Its Australian subsidiary has been fined $12,600 in the Industrial Magistrates Court in Perth for breaching the Fair Work Act.

Komatsu Australia’s human resources manager, Grant Morgan, was also fined $2,500.

The breach related to an enterprise agreement covering employees at Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s Super Pit gold mine, where Komatsu maintains a fleet of trucks, loaders and PC8000 shovels.

The contract includes a clause in which workers receive an annual bonus for meeting key performance indicators (KPIs), most of which are related to safety.

Instead of the agreed-upon 2 per cent bonus, Komatsu’s official paperwork lodged with the Fair Work Commission incorrectly said workers would be entitled to a 10 per cent bonus.

Phillip Southgate, who has been employed by Komatsu as a shift mechanic since May 2010, took legal action via the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU).


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