Sep 2018 | Are we all prepared to pay the price for proper wages?

Date: 23 Sep 2018

Source: The Age

As a boss, Jackson Davie could be described as retro – a bit like the obscure 1960s rock that plays in his cafe, Mavis the Grocer, in Abbotsford in Melbourne’s inner north.

His approach to business harks back to an Australia where workers could expect and demand to be paid according to the laws of the land.

Mr Davie pays his workers award wages, including penalties.

“I don’t want to get stung owing back pay and not have the money to cover it,’’ says the 38-year-old, who has been involved in restaurants, clubs, pubs and cafes since he was 14.

“I’d rather just do things properly and sleep well at night, knowing that the money I’ve got is mine.”

That can make Mr Davie appear unusual in hospitality.

From tiny corner cafes to the largest, high-end restaurants, exploitation including underpaymentand dangerously long hours is rife and, arguably, at unprecedented levels.

A 2015 report by watchdog the Fair Work Ombudsman found about half of all restaurants and cafes audited did not pay legal rates.