600 hundred workers at electrical firm Pacific Services Group (PSG) — formerly known as Russell Smith — have lost their jobs after the company announced yesterday that it had gone into receivership.
The Electrical Trades Union said PSG told workers on Tuesday it was closing its national electrical division due to debts accumulated from mismanagement on some large projects in Queensland.
According to the article on ABC, a number of workers in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland, including all 210 employees of PSG Elecraft in Victoria, mostly electricians and apprentices, have lost their jobs as the debt-ridden company slipped into receivership.
“The company were at pains to state that it wasn’t the fault of these Victorian workers. In fact these Victorian electricians had made millions of dollars for this company and through no fault of their own they’re now without a living,” the secretary of the Victorian branch of the Electrical Trades Union, Troy Graytold, told the ABC.
“To see such an icon of the industry go into liquidation, there’s no good things that come of it. No good things,” he said.
He said the company’s debt has reached the $10 million mark and was no longer sustainable.
“It’s not just 200 workers. It’s the families of these 200. They don’t have an income. They can’t get their entitlements, we’re told by the Government, for 40 weeks. We’d call on the Government . . . to fast-track that.”
“Many of these workers will not get re-employed. The construction industry in Victoria isn’t fantastic at the moment and they need those entitlements. The annual leave, banked RDOs, they need to live on, to buy food with. But on top of Ford, Holden, Toyota and Alcoa, we’re losing close to 1000 members will lose their jobs from now over the next 18 months. It’s not going to be easy.”
Sources say workers will receive their entitlements but that will not be confirmed until the end of the week.
Meanwhile, PSG will put up for sale its two remaining operational plants in Victoria and Queensland, employing about 50 staff each, reported The Sydney Morning Herald.
PSG had been involved in major infrastructure projects in Tasmania, including the roll-out of the National Broadband Network.
Former Russel Smith co-owner Mac Russell said the Tasmanian part of the business is viable.
“It’s got very good people. It’s got very good capabilities,” Mr Russell said.