Drivers underpaid in NSW

Drivers allegedly underpaid $47,000, operator summoned to court by Fair Work Ombudsman

A Sydney bus operator is facing the Federal Circuit Court for allegedly short-changing four bus drivers of more than $47,000.

The Federal Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James will now pursue legal action against coach charter operator Eagle Tours.

Eagle Tours allegedly underpaid four bus drivers a total of $47,640 between November, 2012 and February, 2014.

The drivers were allegedly paid flat rates of $22 an hour, which resulted in underpayment of casual loadings, overtime rates and penalty rates for weekend, public holiday, night and early morning work.

Eagle Tours has a contract with Transport Sydney Trains to provide shuttle bus services to transfer Transport Sydney Trains crew between stations and maintenance centres.

 "We confirm that proceedings have been instituted by the Fair Work Ombudsman, and the proceedings are at a very early stage at the moment," an Eagle Tours spokesperson says.

"As the matter is before the court it is not appropriate to make any comment - other than to say that Eagle Tours denies the allegations."

Under the Passenger Vehicle Transportation Award, the former employees were entitled to receive as much as $38.94 an hour on weekends and $48.68 on public holidays.

James says all four drivers should have been classified as casual employees, but three were misclassified as independent contractors and the contract price paid by Transport Sydney Trains was enough for Eagle Tours to pay drivers their minimum lawful entitlements.

Eagle Tours has made some back-payments, but more than $41,000 of the alleged underpayment remains outstanding.

The organisation faces fines of up to $51,000 for each law it is alleged to have breached and James is also seeking a court order for Eagle Tours to back-pay workers in full, as well as a court order requiring it to display a workplace notice detailing employee entitlements and have a professional audit of its compliance with workplace laws.

A directions hearing is scheduled for May 13 at the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney.

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