Home > Gujarat workers facing financial hardship told to contact their banks

Gujarat workers facing financial hardship told to contact their banks

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The Australian Bankers Association has told Gujarat NRE workers who have not been paid to contact their banks sooner rather than later.

Acting chief of the ABA, Tony Burke, said a letter sent to the association by Keira MP Ryan Park would be used to advise banks of the hardship being faced by Gujarat workers, Illawarra Mercury reported.

Workers for the company have not been paid wages owed to them for over two weeks, with the company unable to guarantee when the employees can expect their money.

One worker at the mine said people were stressed and frustrated at the situation with some quickly running out of funds.

Burke said members of the Gujarat NRE workforce who think they might default on loan payments should contact their financial institution immediately.

‘‘If you know difficulty is coming, don’t wait until it has actually happened,’’ Burke said.

‘‘Don’t wait until you find yourself in trouble and default on a payment, forcing the bank to contact you directly.’’

Burke reassured workers that banks were used to dealing with similar situations.

‘‘None of us like to go to anyone and say we’ve got a problem, but the banks have tried to make it as easy as possible to get to the right part of the bank,’’ he said.

‘‘I would just emphasise that you need to contact your bank as soon as you think there is going to be a problem because, while I understand this is a terrible situation for everyone concerned, banks deal with financial hardship all the time.’’

Park said he was pleased with the association’s response.

‘‘They will now make sure the banks are aware of this situation, so they can show some consideration to all these workers who will be coming in while the situation with Gujarat is up in the air,’’ he said.

Burke also advised workers to visit the group’s new website – doingittough.info – which help them understand what help banks can offer.

Meanwhile, there has still been no word from the company on when the miners’ can expect wages to hit their accounts.

In a statement last week, Gujarat said aid that operations and cash flow were expected to stabilise after a shareholder meeting on October 16, when shareholders are expected to vote whether to allow Indian steel company Jindal Steel and Power to acquire up to 56.3 per cent of the voting power in Gujarat.

A vote in favour would mean Jindal would be able to take control of Gujarat, with the majority shareholder required to pay the workers’ wages and superannuation.

However, if the vote does not pass, the CFMEU advised workers that Gujarat could go into liquidation, meaning their entitlements would have to be claimed through arbitration.

In a further blow to Gujarat, the company has been ordered to repay more than $US8 million to Singaporean company Coeclerici Asia after it failed to provide it with thousands of tonnes of coal.

On Monday , the Federal Court upheld its original decision that the Illawarra miner owed the Asian company over the failed deal, after a challenge by Gujarat’s executive chairman Arun Jagatramka was dismissed.

One worker said more than half the workers he knew were not planning to return to the mines until they were paid.

"Most workers aren't going in," he said.

"And, like people said at the meeting [on Monday], at some point, some blokes aren't going to be able to work even if they want to, because they're not going to have the money to put petrol in their cars.

"Then they'll have no choice but to take unpaid leave.”

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