Brisbane’s popular West End food precinct is the latest area to be targeted by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
The aim of the audits is to check that businesses are paying their workers proper wages and entitlements.
Consequently, inspectors are conducting surprise audits of 50 cafes, bars, restaurants and take away outlets.
The raids are the result of more than 100 anonymous complaints from workers in the area who claim they are being underpaid.
Brisbane’s West End the third most complained about suburb in the country
The anonymous reports suggest many West End workers are being ripped off.
Additionally, other reports allege employees are not receiving:
- weekend penalty rates
- and other special allowances.
According to Fair Work, the high number of complaints represent 33 per cent of all reports about businesses in the area.
Therefore the result is disproportionately high considering only 12.3 percent of employees in the region work in the food services industry.
Consequently, the number of anonymous reports made about West End businesses make it the third most complained about suburb in the country.
Ombudsman won’t hesitate to take court action
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker says her agency won’t hesitate to take court action if necessary.
“The Fair Work Ombudsman is cracking down on underpayments in the hospitality industry and we urge employers to check they are paying staff correctly before we come knocking.
“If eateries in the West End are breaking the law, we will help to recover the wages and entitlements owed to staff.
“We will also consider what enforcement action is necessary, including court action.”
Enforcement activity welcomed
Miles Heffernan, Litigation Director at WAGETHEFT.net.au, welcomed the surprise audits.
“It is encouraging to see the regulator being proactive and ready to take enforcement action where necessary,” he said.
“Since Ms Parker has taken over as the Fair Work Ombudsman, she has put a greater emphasis on enforcement instead of education, and that is exactly what is needed to tackle the scourge of wage theft.”
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