The Carlton Club backpays worker $3,800 – bartenders continue the fight for penalty rates

UNITE members at the Carlton Hotel have been fighting for the minimum wage and penalty rates, in the face of anti-union bullying and blatant lies from management and the boss.

Workers at the Carlton – a hugely popular CBD bar – have been getting paid well below the minimum wage for years. A group of bartenders fed up with the situation joined UNITE and began to push for their entitlements.

Management raised the workers’ base rate because of this agitation but refused to pay penalty rates. They have since constantly harassed union members at work, banned some union members from the premises, and bizarrely claimed that due to the small wage rise they can no longer use quality stationary.

Last week the Carlton back paid a former bartender $3,800 for all the hours she was underpaid. She had worked at the Carlton for less than a year! She refused to sign the confidentiality agreement they had insisted upon, determined to help the remaining workers fight for penalty rates. In an attempt to stop the news spreading, management has ordered staff to eject her from the premises if she returns.

Large staff meetings have been held in which management has derided penalty rates as disloyal, suggesting they would bankrupt the Carlton. The price of one drink per-worker per-hour is how much the Carlton would have to give up in order to pay Sunday penalty rates! The Carlton is one of the most popular places to drink in Melbourne – there is no doubt that they can afford this small pay increase.

The Carlton has also threatened bar staff with part-time employment. They are trying to threaten people with secure, better-paid work with benefits like paid sick leave and paid annual leave!

As the UNITE members at the Carlton are proving, lies, bullying and fear mongering from wealthy bosses won’t be tolerated.

If you are a casual worker at the Carlton or any bar, these are the rates you should be getting: