Hungry Jack’s has come under fire for exploiting a taxpayer-funded internship program to make up its summer workforce.
As a result of the program, Hungry Jack’s does not have to pay the workers any wages, leaving the bill entirely up to the taxpayer.
Hungry Jack’s exploitation
The internship program offers job seekers under the age of 25 a $200 a fortnight payment in addition to their unemployment benefits.
However, that only equates to $4 an-hour on top of their benefit payment, if the intern worked the maximum 50-hours every fortnight.
Companies that take on interns receive a $1,000 payment from the government, and an additional $10,000 if they eventually give the intern a job.
Enlisting young people under the program therefore allows Hungry Jack’s to avoid paying them any wages at all.
Program denies job seekers paid positions
The Retail and Fast Food Workers Union slammed Hungry Jack’s for an advertisement seeking people to apply for the internships.
Union secretary Josh Cullinan told ABC News that he was “outraged” that government resources were funding the internships.
He said the program denied other job seekers proper paid positions over the busy Christmas period.
“These Christmas casual jobs in past years were a simple way for current workers and school leavers to get work over the summer period,” he said.
“These were real jobs that were paid for by Hungry Jack’s.
“Hungry Jack’s already had pitifully low wages — having abolished penalty rates and other conditions under their old zombie enterprise agreements.
“This shows that they will ruthlessly find any means possible to pay our members even less. It must stop.”
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Meanwhile, industrial advocate Miles Heffernan described the internship program exploitation and a form of wage theft.
“Taxpayers should not be footing the bill for Hungry Jack’s staff wages,” he said.
“This is a multi-million dollar company that can afford to pay proper wages. If they can’t, they shouldn’t be in business.”
Previously, the federal government said the internship program would create 30,000 jobs.
“However, in the first 18 months, it has managed to sign up just 4785 job seekers, and most of the positions have been in retail,” Mr Heffernan said.
“It has been a spectacular failure and an utter waste of taxpayers money.
“Money the government should never have cut from TAFEs and training colleges that result in real jobs for young people.”
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