July 2018 | Four ways to stop restaurants like Rockpool ripping off workers

Date: 13 July 2018

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

A prestigious name. A celebrity frontman. An empire of establishments from fine dining to "casual and fun". But in the kitchens of some of Rockpool Dining Group's restaurants, a Fairfax investigationhas found conditions were neither fine nor fun.

Allegations include skilled chefs earning as little as $15 an hour some weeks while working 30 hours unpaid overtime. Excessive hours leading to fatigue and injury. Staff schooled in how to falsify the hours they worked. Migrant workers with temporary visa status vulnerable to exploitation.

The story is just the latest in a series of cases of apparently underpaid wages in businesses with household names: 7-Eleven, Caltex and Dominos.

The government’s immediate response? Decidedly inadequate, serving only to highlight the flaws in its overall strategy to address wage theft.

While we can expect the Fair Work Ombudsman to give these high-profile cases its full attention,  wage theft is not isolated to big name businesses with brands to protect.

Research, including our own, shows that it is widespread and entrenched, particularly involving vulnerable temporary migrant workers in small businesses.