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Sacked apprentice to get $70,000

A Hastings building company has been ordered to pay a former apprentice builder almost $70,000 after he lost his job with almost three years left to run on his contract.

The Employment Relations Authority says G & L Building and Maintenance Limited must pay Byron Watt the lost wages he is owed, holiday pay, costs and compensation.

Mr Watt told the authority he got a letter from a company director in September 2010 saying his employment had ended due to a "unforeseen event".

He said he signed a four-year fixed term employment agreement in July 2009 while he trained as an apprentice.

Authority member Paul Stapp found Mr Watt had a personal grievance against the firm because it did not allow him to have any input or provide comment on why his employment was ending and awarded him $8000 compensation.

The firm failed to appear before the authority and Mr Stapp said their reluctance to co-operate had obstructed his investigation into the case.

He found the company remained liable to pay Mr Watt until the end of the agreement and had not taken the appropriate steps to find other work in an apprenticeship for him.

Mr Watt had struggled to find work since and was currently on ACC for injuries suffered in an accident.

The authority found Mr Watt was entitled to gross payments of $55,130 in lost wages and $4000 in holiday pay and almost $2500 in costs and fees.