The ACTU has called for urgent talks with the Federal Government on the loss of employee entitlements from company collapses.

ACTU Secretary Greg Combet said new legislation was needed to ensure that all employees are paid 100% of their entitlements without lengthy delays.

The call comes as 300 employees owed about $5 million in entitlements are expected to lose their jobs today when Melbourne shopfitter Trollope, Silverwood and Beck closes down.

The latest in a series of collapses follows Prime Minister John Howard’s promise yesterday to investigate delays in payments to thousands of former Ansett employees expecting their entitlements before Christmas.

“The Federal Government’s employee entitlement scheme is short-changing thousands of sacked workers who are left waiting many months for incomplete and inadequate payments,” Mr Combet said.

“How many more workers have to lose their savings as well as their jobs before the Government introduces a fair scheme that guarantees full and prompt payment of outstanding entitlements?”

Former Ansett workers are owed around $300 million in entitlements more than a year after the airline’s collapse despite the collection of $11 million each month from the Ansett air ticket levy.

Talks with the government should include legislation to guarantee 100% of employee entitlements, to give priority to employees in company insolvencies and to improve corporate governance in relation to employee liabilities, Mr Combet said.