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Unions call for MPs to support special enquiry into wage theft in SA

October 10, 2018

South Australian unions have called on all members of Parliament to support the move for a Select Committee enquiry into wage theft in South Australia.

SA Unions State Secretary Joe Szakacs says wage theft is endemic across Australia and has become a business model relied on by businesses to make profits.

“Wage theft - including the failure to pay a worker’s superannuation – has long term consequences for that person’s entire working life and reaches into the amount of money they’ll have to live on when they retire.

“We’re not talking about a few bosses who make a mistake with their payroll.

“This is about employers who set up their business model in a way that pays people below the legal minimum.

“In some cases, this leaves workers being paid less than the national minimum wage and left living in poverty.

‘Whether it’s celebrity chefs, construction companies or the local pub, the theft of workers’ wages is a national crisis.”

Mr Szakacs said there have been countless cases of wage theft in South Australia, particularly in food and hospitality, agriculture and in the meat processing industries, where workers were paid as little as $5 an hour.

‘Stealing workers’ wages is a crime, it’s rife and it’s morally repugnant.

“We now call on all members of the Legislative Council to support this enquiry so it can investigate the prevalence of wage theft in South Australia and formulate a legislative response to ensure justice for workers.

“We need tougher laws because as they stand, they aren’t strong enough to deter dodgy bosses.

“Businesses who knowingly and recklessly continue to rip-off their workers should face the full consequences of the law.”