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Mystery surrounds Ovato Warwick Farm redundancies - AMWU may lodge dispute with FWC

It is well-known that Ovato (formerly IPMG and PMP combined), is undergoing a major restructure but some employees made 'redundant' by the ASX-listed company are perplexed that their positions are being advertised again. The AMWU has warned Ovato it may take the matter to the Fair Work Commission, the national workplace relations tribunal.

redundancy snip
Were some of Ovato's redundancies not really redundancies? Some ex-employees believe so

The Fair Work Commission defines a redundancy as:

" Redundancy occurs when an employer either decides they no longer need an employee's job to be done by anyone, or the employer becomes insolvent or bankrupt, and terminates their employment. 

The job itself, not the employee, becomes redundant. Redundancy can happen when the business:

  • introduces new technology (eg. the job can be done by a machine)
  • slows down due to lower sales or production
  • closes down
  • relocates interstate or overseas
  • restructures or reorganises because a merger or takeover happens."

In last December's round of redundancies, the following positions were made redundant:

  • Engineers
  • Bindery operators
  • Press assistants
  • Forklift drivers

A former employee of Ovato has drawn our attention to job ads placed by Ovato in February 2021 for:

  • Head of Engineering
  • Bindery Operator
  • Print Assistant
  • Forklift Driver

The positions were advertised here:

The FWC approved the redundancies and they were ratified in a Supreme Court ruling. Over 300 employees were then made redundant and told to make redundancy claims via the FEG taxpayer-funded scheme.

The re-advertising of positions made redundant has perplexed many former Ovato employees who are still awaiting any payouts, some with 30 years of service. The AMWU is reported to have requested an investigation by the FWC into the factuality of some of the redundancies, given the re-advertising of very similar positions from mid-February.

lorraine cassin amwu
Seeking 'absolute clarity' from Ovato:
    Lorraine Cassin, national print 
           secretary, AMWU

The AMWU has warned Ovato that it may take the matter to the Fair Work Commission, Australia's national workplace relations tribunal.

“The AMWU is querying again with the company how these vacancies have arisen," Lorraine Cassin, AMWU national print secretary, told Wide Format Online. "We have matched the advertised positions with the final redundancy breakdown and three of the positions, Print Assistant, Bindery Operator and Logistics are in that breakdown as redundant.

"If we do not get absolute clarity and certainty from Ovato about these vacant position, we will lodge a dispute with the FWC.”