Primo reinstates supervisor accused of sexual harassment

Primo Smallgoods says sexual harassment claims at its Scone meatworks have been investigated and the accused re-instated.

On 6 March 2014 the ABC's 730 program investigated Primo Smallgood's Hunter Valley Meatworks in Scone, raising a series of allegations made by the Meatworkers Union about the operation.

They include underpayment of workers employed through a now defunct labor hire company, and claims of sexual harassment by a supervisor.

Raying Holding Pty Ltd is the labor hire company accused of underpayments and is now the subject of legal action by the Fair Work Ombudsman, though the company has since folded.

The Meatworkers Union also has a petition signed by 75 workers about claims of sexual harassment of workers.

Primo says the accused was stood down during investigations, but no concrete evidence was found and he has since been cautioned and re-instated.

Meatworkers Union Branch Secretary, Grant Courtney questions why the petition was not given further consideration.

"I did send the company a copy of the petition that was signed by 75 international workers to reflect that they witnessed serial sexual harassment against a range of workers on night shift at the Primo Scone site," he said.

Mr Courtney says many of the employees at Primo are from Asia on backpacker visas and in a precarious position if they complain about their pay.

He says getting workers to come forward about their claims is not easy.

"If these workers do come forward they (fear) they'll lose their jobs."

He says prosecution of employment agencies is difficult as they are notorious for folding when court action is taken.

Primo's head of Human Resources, Tim Golinski says the company supported the Fair Work Ombudsman's investigation of employment practices and conditions last year.

"We certainly would never condone those sort of practices and we would never support them either and as a result we don't use that particular company Raying," he said.

"We've audited all our existing labor hire companies including Scotwell and we're confident they are meeting their legal obligations as far as rates and conditions as they should."