Dodgy Brunswick Street employers to be exposed

By Michael Quin. Published in the Melbourne Times Weekly, February 1st

Exploitative employers on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, could be named and shamed in a union campaign to clean up the street’s reputation for underpaying staff.

Yarra councillor and UNITE retail workers union secretary Anthony Main said audits would be carried out this month to find out if employers were providing award wages, casual loading, overtime, payslips and health and safety standards.

“It’s nothing above what they are supposed to be doing by law, but very quickly we’ll find out who’s doing the right thing,” Cr Main said.

Employers who pass the questionnaire will receive stickers to put in their shop windows, and those who fail the test or refuse to co-operate risk being singled out in the campaign.

“It’s all about putting pressure on those with dodgy practices,” Cr Main said.

A similar campaign back in 2003 found widespread underpaying of staff in the Fitzroy shopping and entertainment precinct.

“It’s been a problem here for a long, long time,” Cr Main said. “I’ve known of employers paying staff $10 or $12 an hour cash-in-hand when the minimum wage is $15 hour and another one paying staff in ecstasy tablets instead of wages.”

In December the Cape Cafe on Brunswick Street was fined $120,000 by the Fair Work Ombudsman for underpaying two kitchen hands.

See the original article here.