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News News Companies under scrutiny
More trolley collection companies in South Australia could face legal action for underpaying workers after an investigation by workplace safety authorities.

The Australian Workplace Ombudsman has already taken court action against two Adelaide companies, including one alleged to have underpaid more than 100 employees.

Now SafeWork SA has referred six companies to the ombudsman for further action.

SafeWork SA said it began its investigation in June to determine if trolley collection companies were complying with state long service leave provisions.

In the course of that investigation it found that many workers were being paid under the minimum federal rate for casuals.

"SafeWork SA is deeply concerned by what has been uncovered," said acting executive director Peter Hampton.

"We note the Australian Workplace Ombudsman's recent announcement of prosecutions in the trolley collecting industry and welcome any initiative that will ensure fair pay and conditions and adherence to the law, be it state or federal."

Commenting on the six cases, workplace ombudsman Nicholas Wilson said one matter had already been resolved with money recovered for a young worker, one had been referred back to the South Australian government and others remained under investigation.

In one of those the company had already been asked to produce relevant documents including payroll records.

Mr Wilson said SafeWork SA was to be commended for its actions towards protecting workers' rights.

"Most employers do not deliberately underpay their workers and the majority both understand and meet the community's expectation that they should respect workers' rights and pay them their lawful entitlements," he said.

"However, for those employers who choose deliberately not to meet their workers' rights and comply with workplace law, they should be clearly warned that the workplace ombudsman will remorselessly pursue them to recover unpaid entitlements and, in some cases, prosecute companies for breaches of workplace law."

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