THE Fair Work Ombudsman has fined operators of a Sydney-based cleaning company $444,300 and backpay $223,244 for treating vulnerable employees as "slaves" under a "calculated" scheme.

Grouped Property Services Pty Ltd has been penalised $370,000 and its former owner Rosario Pucci was fined $74,300 for being "intimately involved" in the exploitation of 49 workers between 2011 and 2013.

The company was also ordered to back-pay $223,244 to the exploited workers.

Pucci previously was fined $4,400 in 2011 for his involvement in underpaying three employees with his old company, Wash and Go Pty Ltd.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the case was one of the agency's most complex matters to date.

"This matter involved dubious 'labour hire' arrangements, corporate structures and sham contracting arrangements that were used by a second-time offender in a calculated attempt to avoid responsibility for vulnerable workers' entitlements," says James.

At the commencement of the 2014 litigation, the Ombudsman secured a freezing order to prevent the company from placing itself in liquidation. Read more

David Simmons - Business News Australia - 8 June 2017


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