Stephen Franks provides some free advice

Stephen Franks has blogged some free advice for Transfield subbies currently feeling the pinch with the slow payments of Transfield

I’m not sure how successful trying to strong-arm Transfield like this would be, but at the very least it should provide some protection.

[H]ere’s the advice if you are a subbie to Transfield. It may be worth more than you are paying for it.

First – demand information from them to the satisfaction of your accountants to establish the current solvency of the company which is actually paying you (probably a New Zealand subsidiary).

Second – don’t restart work for the scumbags till you’ve been paid everything due.

Third – record in writing to them that you will only work for them while there are no arrears, whatsoever.

Fourth – stick to that policy. 

That could be the only practical way to get some prospect of protection from from Transfield’s liquidators if they become insolvent. Under NZ law (blogged on 24 August) passed in 2007 you could have to repay everything received from them for work done before the payments, over the two years before the liquidation.

A more sure protection would be to require payment in advance. Assuming that is out of the question, there is probable protection from making it plain that you are altering your position materially looking forward, in reliance on the payment of an invoice for past supply, by restarting or continuing work on credit terms. You could need to be able to show that was in fact an alteration of position (i.e. you would previously have continued work in expectation of eventual payment, but not from now on). That is why you should record your new approach in writing.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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