Australia Australian Politics

Old Practices Still See the Light of Day: Business still play ‘swap ‘n’ go’

It was a well known practice in 1980-90’s Western Australia, under conservative governments, that business would put itself into receivership weeks prior to many of their workers coming into their long service leave. This practice was performed so often, that the workers of the abattoir I refer too knew that they had to show up at the same work place they were fired from the day prior, very early in the morning, to be re-hired by the same company now operating under a different name.

Whilst their previous company name is in receivership, they continued operations as usual, without all the pesky workers rights to their accumulated holidays, sick days and long service to deal with, or pay.

Another instance of screwing over the people, the workers, occurred also in Western Australia (these are things that I personally know about). There was a Pine plantation deal.

25 years prior workers were approached to buy shares in a Pine Plantation. It would take 25 years for the Pines to be harvested, 25 years before the workers would see a return for their weekly payments (over 25 years), it was seen by the worker as an investment into their retirement. As always though, it’s very rare for such a deal to be paid out. Three weeks before the Pines were due to be harvested the workers were contacted and informed that the company they had been paying for 25 years had gone into receivership.

I attended the meetings listening to business waffle on about nothing in particular, skirted around questions by those who had invested in the venture. I had read up on what had actually occurred before attending on behalf of a working family and I knew that the company had played the old game of ‘swap ‘n’ go’. When prompted about the company ‘now operating under a different business name’, the people were informed ‘but your investment is not with the current business, the company you invested with are in receivership.’

I found myself after each meeting explaining to many of those who had attended what had actually been said and sadly I had to inform many that they were not going to see any return on their investment.

And here we go again… Supermarket recycling business liquidated to escape $800,000 worker death fine.

Steve Bower died at work in 2014.
Steve Bower died at work in 2014.

It seems that these old, well honed practices are still a vital fall back for grubby business owners under conservative governances.

For those of you who have never heard of this practice, I am sorry to be the one to tell you that it happens all the time. It shouldn’t, but it does.



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