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Milk money promise sours

THE owner of the Toora milk factory, Dajian Li, has denied allegations a string of tradespeople, businesses and workers were not being paid.

The ViPlus Dairy boss also dismissed claims made to The Star that workers were paid cash.

Office manager Marion Hannon said the factory was not in financial trouble and would start production in the coming months.

Ms Hannon conceded there had been a “shortfall” in funds, but “now it’s getting to the point where everything’s back on track”.

“People are being paid,” she said.

“A lot of people are being paid, some people haven’t been paid as yet. But everyone will be paid. There’s no intention of people not being paid. That’s certainly not the case and I can’t stress that highly enough.

“People are being paid. This factory’s going ahead and everything’s fine.”

But IT specialist Joshuah Hilder – who worked for the factory as a contractor, then employee – said he was still owed $4000. That figure is much less than the $10,000 initially owed.

“It almost ruined my business because I had to put a lot of clients at bay, because I was solely focusing on my work at ViPlus. I was owed money, I didn’t get paid regularly and I had my own financial issues to deal with. The experience has taken away a lot of my business,” he said.

“I’m now working on rebuilding that. It took from June to get that money and I had to physically go there and get it. It was all in cash.”

Secretary of the Gippsland Trades and Labour Council John Parker – who has been to the factory to answer workers’ complaints – believes the business should be wound up.

” The way they conduct themselves is disgraceful. People need to give up on the idea ViPlus Dairy is going to pay them. My advice to anyone is go and see a lawyer and for the company to be wound up,” he said.

Paint Place owner Rob Geyer said his company had been supplying the business since February. Owed $8000, he had not seen a cent, until the arrival of a recent cheque for $2500.

“Drip feeding” was the expression used by one disgruntled tradesperson.

One tradesperson, who says he was owed a few thousand dollars, has been more deeply affected than most.

“I had a meeting with them on Friday. I’m trying to get the guys I had working for me, paid. I worked down there for a couple of weeks, but I didn’t like what I saw and left,” he said.

“They can play the blame game if they want, but I don’t think they’ve ever been on the level there. It’s always been cash under the table.

“The local tradesmen I employed to help me make a difference down there, none of them have been paid.”

Other tradespeople, businesses and equipment hire bosses also said they were waiting for payment. None wanted to speak on the record, for fear it could affect their chances of seeing more money.

South Gippsland Shire Council Director, Development Services Phil Stone has also confirmed ViPlus Dairy was issued with  an order to supply an engineering report to prove recent works at the factory complied with state building codes. The requirement comes after “an anomaly” was discovered, Mr Stone said.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=8422

Posted by on Sep 3 2013. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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