This speech was delivered on 12/11/2013 in the NSW Upper House. You can read the full debate online here.
Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: My question is directed to the Minister for the Illawarra. What steps has the Minister taken to ensure that the 500 workers from the Illawarra who are employed by Gujarat NRE will receive their full wages and entitlements given the financial failings of their employer?
The Hon. JOHN AJAKA: I thank the honourable member for this excellent question. I have met with a number of the stakeholders, including the directors of Gujarat, as well as the directors of Jindal Steel and Power, which has now taken over the major shareholding. As I understand and am informed, Jindal is currently paying all workers the moneys that are due to them in salaries as each week comes about, and in fact paid them two weeks to cover the first week and the second week. As I also understand, Jindal is currently negotiating with the union and the workers in relation to past payments and entitlements of employees in order to enter into satisfactory arrangements.
I have been informed that the workers and the union representing them are pleased with the fact that those negotiations are taking place. It is very clear that this Government is always concerned about any loss of jobs or non-payment of entitlements. The Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon. Chris Hartcher, has made it very clear to the directors of Gujarat NRE and Jindal that this Government’s first priority is to ensure the employees receive their proper entitlements and will continue to do so. However, a priority is to ensure that workers maintain their employment through continued operations of the mine, which this Government is also considering.