Hundreds of workers axed by failed electrical contractor PSG Elecraft have no guarantee their entitlements will be paid.
Six hundred workers across Australia axed by a major electrical contractor have been left fearing their entitlements will not be paid.
Employees at PSG Elecraft offices in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland were told the news shortly after arriving at work on Tuesday morning.
The biggest number of job losses are in Victoria where about 200 staff, including many apprentices, were told to go home and not come back.
About 180 jobs were also expected to go in Tasmania.
The company, also known as Pacific Services Group, was placed in the hands of receivers KordaMentha at 6pm on Monday night.
It is understood the administrator is “endeavouring” to secure the entitlements owed to staff but has given no guarantee.
Secretary of the Victorian branch of the Electrical Trades Union, Troy Gray, called on the federal government to step in to head off a 40 week wait for entitlements, if they even get paid.
“These entitlements are what would be used to put food on the table for the families of these workers,” Mr Gray told AAP.
“This is not just one or two workers. This is 600 across Australia. [The federal government] should intervene and make sure they get these entitlements in the next six weeks or so.
Federal Employment Minister Eric Abetz said workers could apply to the Fair Entitlements Guarantee to claim unpaid wages or entitlements.
“The government is deeply concerned about any job losses,” Tasmanian Senator Abetz said in a statement to AAP.
“Job losses in Tasmania are particularly concerning, given that the state has the highest level of unemployment in the country.”
The Tasmanian government said it had been in contact with the company and would “seek to assist affected staff”.
Mr Gray said Victorian employees were told there had been “poor management at an upper level in PSG” and “some bad decisions made on major projects in Queensland”, which racked up debts of $10 million.
Other major projects include the National Broadband Network rollout in Tasmania, the new Adelaide Hospital and the Adelaide Convention Centre.
Mr Gray said most Victorian staff would not find new jobs as construction continued to struggle.
“There’s not a lot of work out there,” he said.