Fred Mohammed, Managing Director Cranes R Us
Fred Mohammed, Managing Director Cranes R Us Contributed

Crane Trucks R Us to go into voluntary administration

UPDATE: CRANE Trucks R Us Managing Director Fred Mohammed has said the business would go into voluntary administration.

Mr Mohammed was talking in response to numerous complaints by workers saying they hadn't been paid, were missing redundancy entitlements or weren't paid super.

Crane Trucks R Us is just one business run under parent company Freight Logistics R Us, all managed by Mr Mohammed, who has won many awards including the 2014 Australian Freight Industry Award.

However when asked what he was doing to make sure workers were paid their entitlements Mr Mohammed said the group was going into voluntary administration and the government would look after the workers.

While there is no plan for the company to pay the workers, Mr Mohammed is enjoying its success riding around in his flash GTR which has been featured in numerous car magazines and living in what one former employee described as a mansion.

An image found on Facebook of what is believed to be Fred Mohammed's car and home.
An image found on Facebook of what is believed to be Fred Mohammed's car and home.

Mr Mohammed did say a lot of entitlements had already been paid but conformed that some workers were still waiting.

It's not been an easy ride for the business, which Mr Mohammed started 10 years ago, he told Big RIgs he's likely to need to start again as he lost a $10 million contract with Holcim and they're now owed millions of dollars from the company.

There's seven divisions to Freight Logistics R Us which employs 50 operational staff in depots around the country.

"Crane Trucks R Us set up depots in Rockhampton, Townsville and Ipswich around June 2014 in order to service that (Holcim) contract, with about 60 employees across the three sites in addition to Brisbane," he said.

"There were around 20 to 30 staff in Rockhampton and Townsville. Investing over $6.5 million in equipment to service this contract."

Big Rigs spoke to Fair Work Australia which couldn't confirm if there had been complaints against the company, but Mr Mohammed said he spoke to FWA and they were "fully aware of the situation" and "all employees will receive their legal entitlements under the government's fair entitlements guarantee".

He said when the payments by Holcim were not paid they were forced to close the doors to the depots in May this year.

Mr Mohammed also claimed that Holcim had not paid more than nine months' worth of invoices and the business was now pursuing legal action against Holcim for reneging on the contract.

However one ex-employee that contacted Big Rigs said the problems started two years ago, and for two years he wasn't paid super.

Transport Workers' Union QLD Secretary Peter Biagini said workers at depots in Townsville and Rockhampton had been sacked without wages and other entitlements as the company shut shop in those regions and was failing to pay workers in Brisbane while operating interstate.

"Regional QLD workers and their families have been thrown on the scrapheap, laid off without the wages, superannuation or redundancy payments owed to them and without adequate notice - while the company does business as usual in Brisbane, NSW and Victoria," he said.

"If the company is able to operate in Brisbane and interstate it is able to pay its workers in Townsville and Rockhampton the money it owes them to support their families."

In Brisbane, the company is operating a contract with One Steel at Acacia Ridge, Buranda and Nerang. Workers at Crane Trucks R Us Brisbane depot in Richlands report that the company has ceased to pay them.

Brisbane staff include drivers and support staff many who have left, giving up hope of being paid wages to live from week to week.

"If the company wants to continue to do business here in Brisbane they must pay their workers in Brisbane," Mr Biagini said.

"The fact the company is still doing business interstate means they have the money to pay these workers what they owe them regardless of any excuse or technicality they may use to get out of it.

"The TWU demands a commitment from the company that all entitlements for its Queensland workforce be paid before creditors."

Crane Trucks R Us operates a 24 hour round the clock contract with Theiss in NSW and a contract in Victoria servicing One Steel depots.

Big Rigs has contacted the Fair Work Ombudsman and Holcim for comment.

EARLIER: MONTHS after losing their jobs in redundancies, employees in Rockhampton and Townsville are still waiting for entitlements to filter through after their employer went into voluntary administration.

The Transport Workers' Union has claimed that workers at Crane Trucks R Us depots in Rockhampton and Townsville were made redundant without adequate notice, and in some cases without wages, superannuation and redundancy payouts.

TWU North Queensland organiser Tom Pfund said workers he spoke to on Tuesday were outraged they were still waiting for their legal entitlements.

TWU Queensland secretary Peter Biagini said the company should come clean about its finances.

"The company's actions are unacceptable to these workers, their families and anybody who thinks a company should not be able to do business as usual in other states while sacking Queenslanders and throwing them out in the cold without their due entitlements," he said.

"The fact the company is still doing business interstate means they have the money to pay these workers what they owe them."

Crane Trucks R Us managing director Fred Mohammed (pictured) said a lot of the entitlements were already paid when they closed the depots, but confirmed some workers were still waiting.

He said the company had gone into voluntary administration after a $10 million contract with a concreting company fell through.

Crane Trucks R Us set up depots in Rockhampton, Townsville and Ipswich around June 2014 in order to service that contract.There were about 20 to 30 staff in Rockhampton and in Townsville, and Mr Mohammed said over $6.5 million worth of equipment was invested.

Mr Mohammed said he had spoken to Fair Work Australia and all employees would receive their entitlements under the government's Fair Entitlements Guarantee.

He said in May, when that company did not pay them, they were forced to close the doors to the depots.

He is now pursuing legal action against that company.

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