Greyhound Racing SA pays back workers following ATO investigation


August 15, 2019 16:05:11

A former Greyhound Racing SA employee is claiming a partial victory amid an ongoing underpayment dispute, saying some of the animals he worked with were treated with more respect than him and his colleagues.

Key points:

  • A group of Greyhound Racing SA workers said they were classified as contractors, not employees
  • Adam Jaworski said he was fired weeks after he refused to sign a casual contract last year
  • He said he had been repaid almost $40,000 after an ATO probe

Father-of-five Adam Jaworski worked as a camera operator and broadcast technician at Greyhound Racing SA’s (GRSA) Angle Park track in Adelaide’s north from 2003 until 2018.

He and a group of six other current and former employees claim they were classified as “contractors” for full-time work, missing out on almost $1.2 million in superannuation and other entitlements.

The group recently made a submission to a South Australian parliamentary committee into wage theft, stating they had been burdened by “many years of underpayment and felt the adverse effects and uncertainty [in] our financial and personal lives”.

“[I was] treated like a piece of rubbish,” Mr Jaworski said.

“We’ve had that feeling that we’re lower-class citizens compared to the management.

“You would think some animals get treated better than the employees.”

Mr Jaworski said he had also raised his case with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), who recently ordered GRSA to repay at least some of the money.

He said he and a colleague had been repaid about $40,000 each, and another had received almost $100,000.

Mr Jaworski said for the first few years of his employment he had signed no contract at all, but was offered and signed a contract as a full-time employee in 2018.

However, he said a few months later GRSA claimed there had been an “administrative error”, and that he needed to go back to being a contractor.

When he refused, he said he was fired with 10 minutes’ notice a couple of weeks later.

“It was right before Christmas… you’re gone,” he said.

“You’ve been there for 15 years and they escort you out because they think you’re going to do some vandalising.

“If I took $300,000 from Greyhound Racing SA, I’d be sitting in Cell Block B in Yatala — I’d be in jail by now if I took money from them,” he said.

GRSA took ‘the appropriate position’ after reviewing records

Greyhound Racing SA chairman Grantley Stevens said the organisation complied with legal and ATO advice to pay all contractors their superannuation entitlements before June 30.

“This is an extremely difficult area of the law and even though employers only need to keep records in this area for five years, GRSA took the appropriate position, reviewed all records and calculated the superannuation entitlements for the last 10 years,” Mr Stevens said.

In June, the State Government pledged $24 million across four years to be shared between thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing.

The funding boost was to make up for the effects of the consumption tax that was created as part of the previous Labor government’s 2016 State Budget.

Mr Jaworski has not ruled out further legal action to recoup other entitlements he and his colleagues may be owed.

The ABC contacted GRSA for comment on the claims made by Mr Jaworski but has not received a response.













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