The fine secured by the Fair Work Ombudsman against a Canberra sushi company demonstrates the vast scale of wage-theft in the ACT.
The penalties were issued against the operator of a chain of sushi outlets for deliberately underpaying migrant workers in Canberra, who were underpaid as much as $1992. Four of the workers were aged between 17 and 19.
More than half of young workers aged under 25 have experienced wage-theft in the past 12 months according to UnionsACT’s latest annual youth survey.
Young workers in the ACT can access free, confidential information about wage rates and underpayments from UnionsACT’s Young Worker Centre: www.youngworkerscbr.org.au
The following quotes are attributable to Alex White, Secretary of UnionsACT:
“There is a wage-theft crisis in Canberra, where a growing number of adult employers decide to deliberately steal wages from vulnerable young people.
“It is even more disgraceful that we are seeing adult employers steal from young migrants aged under 18 who work for them.
“Our research shows that cases of wage-theft continues to worsen.
“Clearly, most unscrupulous employers aren’t worried about the Fair Work Ombudsman. The dodgy employer in this case had been caught in 2015 and yet continued to steal wages from young workers and migrants for years afterwards.
“Dodgy employers are increasingly taking the calculated risk when it comes to wage-theft that they won’t be caught, or if they are, there will be few consequences.”