A class action law suit has been launched against Domino’s Pizza. Workers claim that the company misled or deceived franchisees about the rates of pay they were entitled to. Many say they were not paid proper casual loadings, penalty rates and other allowances. The workers now want to be paid what they are owed.
The class action focuses on the period between June 2013 and January 2018. The Retail and Fast Food Workers Union believes more than 10,000 current and former Domino’s workers are owed back pay.
The workers say that Domino’s instructed franchisees to pay in-store workers and delivery drivers according to outdated employment agreements.
In 2017 the Fair Work Commission terminated outdated enterprise agreements but Domino’s continued to short-change workers well into 2018 when the ruling came into effect. While all this was happening, Domino’s CEO Don Meji was talking home more than $36 million annually, making him one of Australia’s highest paid bosses.
Domino’s is but one of a string of high-profile cases of wage theft in Australia. This incident comes on the back of similar controversies at 7-Eleven, Pizza Hut, Caltex service stations, and at George Calombaris’ restaurants.
It highlights a trend of explicit deception by large corporations in the hospitality sector who predominantly hire young, casual and part-time workers. These workers are particularly vulnerable given their age and lack of working experience.
Hopefully the class action is successful and the Domino’s workers get paid what they are legally owed. But more importantly, hopefully the case can help bring the workers together so that they can be organised on an ongoing basis.
Industrial organisation and collective action are the best ways to combat this sort of exploitation. It can be used, not only defensively, but also to win better wages and conditions. Socialists fight to help unionise workers in hospitality but also to make the exploitation of workers by greedy corporations a thing of the past.
By Ben McIntyre