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News News Pay rise promise...then sack
A TERRITORY worker has been sacked under the new federal industrial relations laws - despite being offered a pay rise three days earlier.

Michael Skorupa, 30, started working as a labourer for Nortruss Builders Supplies three years ago and was promoted to supervisor late last year.

Last month, he was offered a $5000 a year pay rise to be reporting directly to the general manager. But on Thursday, the general manager fired him because the yard "was not running to its full potential".

"I hadn't received any warnings - if I wasn't doing a good job, why did they offer me a pay rise?" Mr Skorupa said.

He was then offered a lower job, driving forklifts, which would have cut his pay by $18,000 a year.

"I can't see how it can be legal," he said.  "I was a loyal employee for three years. I had an outstanding record. I was always on time - and then they fired me."

Nortruss human resources manager Cheryl Tether agreed Mr Skorupa was offered a pay rise last month.

But she said Mr Skorupa was sacked after he was given several chances to improve his work performance.
"Michael's performance had been under scrutiny since November 2006 and various avenues were attempted to assist Michael in achieving the desired levels, including counselling and review meetings," she said. "Michael agreed that he had not been able to meet the required levels and requested a step down."

Mr Skorupa angrily denied this explanation. "I was never ever asked to attend anything regarding my performance," he said. "I was never scrutinised for not doing my job properly, although they would occasionally tell me there are extra things that I can do." Mr Skorupa said he has now been left in the lurch with a wife and a mortgage.

Unions NT spokesman Didge McDonald said up until March, the law required Mr Skorupa's employers to give him several chances to improve his performance. The Federal Government exempted small businesses with less than 100 employees from unfair dismissal claims in March.

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