Media Releases

FunTea and wage theft in South Australia

September 15, 2021

Unions have welcomed the action commenced by the Fair Work Ombudsman against Yuxuan Group, which operates Funtea stores in Adelaide.

It is alleged that Funtea underpaid their employees $180,000. It is also alleged that the workers were not provided meal breaks nor with the required minimum engagement requirements.

This comes a day after news broke of the SDA alleging widespread underpayments of at least 64 workers at the Eudunda Farmers to the tune of $1m.

The Morrison Government had an opportunity this year to take real action on wage theft in Australia. After nine months of intensive discussions, unions, employers, and the Morrison Government agreed on draft new laws aimed at stopping wage theft. But in March, the PM walked away.

With their inaction, the Morrison Government has entrenched insecure work and removed the only aspect of their IR Bill which was agreed to by unions and employers; laws aimed at reducing wage theft. 

In SA, the interim report released in September 2020 by the South Australian parliamentary wage theft committee identified three key areas that needed to be legislated in South Australia:

  1. the need for greater oversight and regulation in a more systemic and integrated way
  2. increases in penalties for offenders including criminalization in extreme cases
  3. streamlining court and tribunal cases

The Marshall state government has failed to act on any of these identified issues.

Quotes attributed to SA Unions Secretary Dale Beasley:

“We’re just seeing the tip of the wage theft iceberg with these two recent examples."

“SA Unions has supported the workers at Funtea this year. We were pleased to see some justice with the conviction against Gavin Guo last month, and we’re pleased now to see action being taken by the ombudsman.

“Unions across all sectors are recouping millions of dollars a year for employees pursuing wage theft. But mopping up the mess after the damage has been done is not good enough. We need proper laws to prevent it happening, and that means proper penalties for perpetrators."

“The decision by the Morison Government to scrap measures earlier this year which would have increased penalties for employers committing wage theft and made it easier for workers to claim stolen wages back was a shameful capitulation. Once again, the PM has shown he refuses to act in the interests of working people."

“In South Australia, investigations by our own parliament have uncovered systemic wage theft issues. What South Aussies want to know is whether Steven Marshall will step up and take action when the PM will not?”

 

All media enquiries: Dale Beasley – 0433 847 325

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