Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Rogue of the month: Rockpool

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Thanks to one of our Instagram followers, Paul, for nominating Rockpool for our ‘Rogue of the month’ column.

The union Hospo Voice has uncovered yet another wage theft scandal, this time at the high-end Rockpool Dining Group. The union says that the company doctored timesheets to cover up massive underpayments.

Rockpool is fronted by celebrity chef Neil Perry, and owned by the Quadrant Private Equity group, a multibillion-dollar enterprise that made a profit of $40 million last year.

The union’s lawyers say that workers were directed to alter time sheets to show they only worked a maximum of 38 hours a week. But some workers report doing up to 100 hours some weeks!

Hospo Voice estimates that, all up, the workers are owed at least $10 million.

Previously Neil Perry denied that the company was in breach of any employment laws, but in late 2018 the company admitted that it had underpaid its employees $1.6 million in one year. It seems that this was just the tip of the iceberg.

The latest argument being put forward by the bosses is that underpayments like this happen because the Award system is too complex. But it’s very strange how the so-called complexity never results in the workers being overpaid!

One report from PwC estimates that as much as $1.35 billion is stolen from workers legal entitlements each year. The real figure is likely much higher.

The truth is that this type of wage theft has become part of the business model for many companies in Australia. Not only small businesses, but huge companies like Qantas, Bunnings and Woolworths are up to their necks in it.

Any of these thieves could have won our ‘Rogue of the month’ award this time around, but for the sheer audacity of them it goes to Rockpool this month.


To nominate a dodgy boss, greedy landlord or corporate stooge for our ‘Rogue of the month’ column email The Socialist HERE.


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