Contractor goes to ground: Mine workers claim missing wages

TWENTY-ONE workers claim to be down thousands of dollars for work already done at the Callide Mine.

Their boss, Jason Wagner, is not answering his phone and the workers say they don't know how they will get their money.

The Civil Australia Group staff walked off the Callide Mine site on March 22 after claiming their employer did not pay them for more than three weeks work.

Selwyn Lampard was one of those workers. He claims he is owed about $9000 in wages and six months worth of superannuation.

"The (boss) wouldn't answer his phone, emails or texts," he said.

"Then at lunch on Monday (March 21), we got a call from where we were staying, telling us we had to pack up our stuff and leave because our bill wasn't settled.

"That's when we decided to stop working."

Mr Lampard said they had been paid late once before but this time his boss stopped answering his phone. Two weeks later he still didn't know if he would see any money.

He said he was accessing his superannuation to keep going.

The site is run by Anglo, with some work contracted to Civil Australia Group.

Alistair O'Neill, who was a supervisor on-site while working for the contractor, said he had been fielding calls from the workers trying to get answers.

"But I can't help them," he said.

"Nobody will talk to us, we have no one to contact.

"No one can get a separation certificate, so they can't go and get benefits or anything to keep them afloat.

"The other thing is group certificates - what's going to happen when it comes time to pay tax on the income we've earned and we can't show where it came from?"

According to one worker, who didn't want to be named, there were some people in a worse-off situation than Mr Lampard.

"A couple of blokes didn't have any money saved and had no way of getting back home," he said.

As of Thursday morning, the company's general manager was not returning calls from either the Gladstone Observer or Central Telegraph, and his lawyer refused to comment due to privacy laws.

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