Merivale to fork out $18m in underpayment class action


Merivale will pay out $18 million after settling an underpayment class action that stemmed from allegations it underpaid as many as 14,000 employees $129 million.

The ‘without-admission’ settlement will see around $8.6 million go towards legal costs and the litigation funder’s commission.

“Merivale strongly denies these allegations and continues to do so,” a spokeswoman for Merivale said.

“In agreeing to the settlement, the parties (and Merivale) sought to end the class action on a commercial basis and avoid the further time and costs of litigation, noting that the class action had already been on foot since December 2019.”

The settlement follows a Federal Court ruling that found Merivale’s 2007 agreement, which it relied on to pay staff for more than 10 years, was invalidly approved.

“Any alleged failure by Merivale to pay group members in accordance with the award was caused by the erroneous decision of the Workplace Authority in relation to the Merivale agreement, and was not the result of any attempt by Merivale to pay group members anything less than they were entitled to by law,” the parties said in an agreed statement.