Shine Lawyers has launched an investigation in the form of a possible class action on behalf of telecommunication technicians, against technical services contracting company BSA Limited.
Publicly listed on the Australian Securities Exchange since 1999, BSA is a technical contracting provider, offering "Australia's largest" telcos, technology and broadcasting companies with services including a specialist technical workforce, network construction and satellite receiving systems.
BSA is a National Broadband Network (NBN) delivery partner, it also provides installation, maintenance and service assurance activities to Optus, alongside installation and maintenance services for Foxtel since 1998 and has performed installations of Femtocell Network equipment for VHA (Vodafone Hutchinson Australia) enterprise clients Australia-wide.
The investigation from Shine Lawyers focuses on claims that, since at least 2012, BSA engaged in "sham contracting" by misrepresenting the nature of its engagement with thousands of telecommunication technicians.
BSA allegedly entered into sub-contracting arrangements with the technicians when in fact they were employees of BSA, according to Shine.
"A sham contract is when an employer deliberately disguises an employment relationship as an independent contract to avoid paying legislated employee entitlements to its workers", said Shine class action expert Vicky Antzoulatos.
If found to be employees, telecommunication technicians could be entitled to annual and long service leave, minimum wage, overtime, superannuation and other payments under the Fair Work Act (2009) and Telecommunications Services Award, Shine explained.
"Unfortunately, BSA, a large Australian corporation with an annual turnover of almost $600 million, is increasingly looking to be another example in the telecommunications industry, where workers may have been signed up to sham contracting arrangements," Antzoulatos said.
"As Shine has seen in the example of ISG Management Pty Ltd, these types of arrangements can cause financial and personal hardship for Australian workers."
"We believe our investigations will reveal that their work practices forced many contractors into financial hardship."
Shine is encouraging all telecommunication technicians engaged by BSA from 2012 to register their interest in a claim on Shine’s website.
BSA had not responded ARN's request for comment at the time of writing.