Workers urged to check wages over Christmas break

Queensland Unions have urged workers this Christmas break to check they are receiving their correct wages and entitlements as Australia’s wage theft crisis grows.

Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Michael Clifford says more and more workers were speaking out about wage theft, and its devastating impact on their incomes.

“Around Christmas time there will be many casual and young workers who will be working long hours at a demanding time of year.

“Too many times we are hearing of unscrupulous bosses taking advantage of these workers who just want to put food on the table and be paid a fair day’s wage.”

The Fair Work Ombudsman is a point of contact for those with wage theft complaints but the union movement is also gathering evidence for a submission to a senate inquiry in early 2020.

He urged any workers suspecting wage theft to outline their experiences on a dedicated website – www.stopwagetheft.org.au – to be considered as evidence in an inquiry submission.

Have you experienced wage theft? Go to www.stopwagetheft.org.au and share your story.

“The recent public claims of wage theft concerning the Mantle Group may be just the tip of the Brisbane hospitality iceberg,” he said.

“This group operates more than a dozen hospitality venues in Brisbane, and we have documented claims of their employment practices, employment on outdated “zombie” agreements, and other unfair and dubious employment arrangements,” he said.

“Every day we hear more stories of big business incorporating wage theft into their business plans,” he said.

The Senate Inquiry public submissions will close in February 2020 and report back by July 2020. Dates of public hearings are yet to be advised.

“It will shine light into the causes, extent and effects of theft of workers’ wages and superannuation and what measures can be taken to address the issue,” said Mr Clifford.

“This senate inquiry will build on the momentum generated by a state wage theft inquiry in 2018 which exposed some shocking stories of rip-offs and rorts,” he said.

“We need stronger laws and the will to act against wage theft across the nation.”

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