Esso workers seek clarity on superannuation errors

Esso workers onshore and offshore are checking their superannuation after being informed of miscalculations collectively, possibly amounting to millions of dollars.
Esso workers onshore and offshore are checking their superannuation after being informed of miscalculations collectively, possibly amounting to millions of dollars.

ONE of the Esso workers caught up in errors over superannuation says those affected are seeking clarity over exactly what has happened.

The Gippsland Times reported on December 28 that about 30 ExxonMobil employees, many of them Sale and Longford Esso workers, had been caught up in a superannuation miscalculation which has resulted in discrepancies amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Plum Superannuation, part of the National Australia Bank Group of companies, has sent letters to ExxonMobil employees alerting them to a problem for some defined benefit superannuation scheme members.

They were temporarily locked out of the Plum website, and were unable to check their superannuation status until December 21.

In December, Plum confirmed superannuation balances for “a small number” of defined benefit members with ExxonMobil were showing incorrect figures “due to an administrative error”.

In a statement issued to the Gippsland Times, it said the error was identified during a routine system check “and rectified within 24 hours”.

“ExxonMobil was immediately notified.”

An Esso Australia spokesperson said in December that it was aware of “an accuracy issue” with the estimated superannuation benefit balances on the Plum website.

The spokesperson said the issue affected about 30 employees who were members of the defined benefit section of the plan.

“No records have been misplaced,” he added.

“We have actively worked with Plum Superannuation to resolve the issue, and the Plum defined benefit website will be reopened on December 31, 2018.

“We have contacted all employees identified as being affected while Plum will conduct an additional systems check to ensure confidence in the defined benefit estimates.”

The affected Esso employee, however, estimates the issue affects “at least” 40 employees onshore and offshore, who have had superannuation discrepancies of between $70,000 and $400,000.

He estimates the total amount involved could possibly be in the vicinity of $4.5 million.

The Esso worker claims the issue was raised with Plum and Esso in September last year when a discrepancy was noticed.

He said the issue was not discovered in a routine system check, but they were alerted to the error  by a fund member, and “it was not resolved in 24 hours”.

The worker claims the errors were the result of a payroll miscalculation several years ago at Esso’s pay office in Bangkok, and had compounded during that time.

He said most of those affected have been working

with the company for more than 20 years.

“The error effects both onshore and offshore

workers,” he added.

The worker said he had now been able to

access his amended statements online, but as yet

there is no explanation as to how they had been

recalculated.

In a statement issued to the Gippsland Times

on Friday, Esso again reiterated the issue affected

about 30 employees, and it had been working with

Plum Superannuation to resolve the issue.

“The Plum defined benefit website was re-opened

on December 31, 2018 and updated statements are

available,” the statement read.

“We have contacted all employees identified as

being affected and are in the process of providing

further details to those employees who have sought

more information.

“We sincerely apologise for any concerns or

inconvenience that this has caused.”

Esso did not address issues raised over the

amount of money involved, how the problem

occurred or when the problem was initially brought

to its attention.

The affected members say they will be seeking

clarification as to how their amended balances

were calculated.

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