Legal

Bonsoy’s $25 million compo case settled; Healthcare workers to be back-paid $4.8 million after six-year accounting error; Midday Roundup

Kirsten Robb /

Hundreds of consumers who drank Bonsoy soy milk and fell sick will now share in $25 million in compensation, in one of the biggest settlements in Australian food safety class action history.

The Victorian Supreme Court yesterday endorsed and finalised a settlement deal with manufacturer Bonsoy and around 500 claimants, after action was first launched against the products’ Australian distributor Spiral Foods in 2010.

Affected consumers claimed they fell ill after drinking milk that contained dangerously high iodine levels between 2004 and 2009.

According to the ABC, lead plaintiff Erin Downie said outside the court she was relieved the five-year battle for compensation was over.

“At times I didn’t know if I could continue on, my health being the way it was,” said Downie.

“But I knew that I was the voice for hundreds of people that weren’t able to have a voice and it was important that I stuck it out so that we could have justice.”

 

Healthcare workers to be back-paid $4.8 million after six-year accounting error

 

Thousands of Australian aged care nurses, health workers and support staff will be reimbursed $4.8 million after their employer discovered it had been paying the incorrect overtime rates.

Aged Care Services Australia Group had been underpaying staff in Victoria, NSW, South Australia and Tasmania for the past six years.

The underpayments were discovered after an internal review of the company’s pay practises. Under a deal struck with the Fair Work Ombudsman, the company has already back-paid almost $1.5 million to current and former staff who were owed less than $5000 each.

Those who are owed more than $10,000 will receive a $500 upfront payment towards financial advice in order to determine the best way to receive their payments.

The underpayments occurred between November 2008 and November 2014.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said in a statement she believed the underpayments were not deliberate.

“It will serve as an example in the health and aged care industry, and to larger corporate employers more generally, of the risks of inadequate governance and payroll systems and the benefits of early co-operation with us,” James said.

“Employers big and small must ensure they take the time to understand and comply with the laws applicable to their workplace.”

 

Shares up on open

 

Local shares have traded higher this morning, following a positive lead from the US overnight.

“Share investors got some relief from world bond markets last night with the big increase in yields seen in recent days coming to an end, at least temporarily,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

“The fact that bond markets steadied last night will provide a firm setting for the share market this morning as it heads into a big data session.”

“The RBA’s Statement of Monetary Policy will be closely watched this morning. It has the capacity to provide further insight into the strength or otherwise of the RBA’s easing bias,” added Spooner in a statement.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was down 40 points to 5685.7 points at 11:45am AEST. On Thursday, the Dow Jones closed up 0.46%, jumping 82.08 points to 17,924.1 points.

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Kirsten Robb

Kirsten Robb is a former journalist at SmartCompany. Previously, she worked at News Corp as a property reporter for Leader Newspapers and the Herald Sun, and holds a Masters of Journalism at Melbourne University.

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