Media Releases

SA Unions demand action on wage theft

February 21, 2022

SA Unions demand action on wage theft from Marshall Government as employers fined $870,000

Media Release                                                                 21 February 2022

SA Unions calls on the Marshall Government to take urgent action on wage theft after reports in today’s Adelaide Advertiser outline rampant wages theft across multiple industries resulting in $870,000 in fines of employers.

Today’s call comes off the back  Marshall Government’s complete refusal to respond to the Wage Theft Inquiry report and to undertake real action to address this scourge for South Australian workers and small businesses.

“Each year South Australian workers are having $500 million in wages stolen from them by unscrupulous employers and the Marshall Government refuses to even acknowledge that wage theft exists.

The Adelaide Advertiser report found that wage theft was rife across the state economy affecting  workers in hospitality, retail, beauty, manufacturing, accounting and real estate, including workers as young as 16 years old.

“It is a disgrace that the Marshall Government is happy to sit by doing nothing while workers in every imaginable industry are being ripped off, right from the time they enter the workforce at 16 years old.

“This complete and total abrogation of responsibility by the Marshall Government to protect workers and to provide a level playing field for small businesses should be badge of shame to every single State Liberal MP at the coming election.

“After two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, workers and small businesses are hurting. They deserve fair pay and fair treatment. They do not deserve to be ripped off by dodgy employers and let down by a State Government who lets them be exploited.

Mr Beasley said that along with workers, small businesses were also severely affected by wage theft and the Marshall Government’s refusal to act was also a major affront to them.

“Right across South Australia, thousands of small businesses are doing the right thing by paying their employees properly.

“But these small businesses simply can’t compete with unscrupulous businesses who are breaking the law by deliberately underpaying their workers.

“The Marshall Government’s unacceptable refusal to take action on wage theft is a massive kick in the guts to every good small business in South Australia.”

“SA Unions calls on the Marshall Government to take immediate action and implement all 37 recommendations of the Select Committee Report for the benefit of all South Australian workers and their families.”