It seems the hospitality industry, with some regularity, features a business large or small exposed in the practice of underpayment of employees in addition to failing the proper implementation of correct recording systems to support future enquiry.
The most recent headline business to be exposed in this way is a well-known ‘celebrity chef’ and his various business ventures in Australia’s foodie capital - Melbourne. It is happening from the top to the bottom – and what exactly is the motivation? Is it possible that greed has a part to play?
Is it not remarkable that any business is still conducting themselves in this way?
This is the ‘often touted’ modern age after all.
What is actually occurring in this industry that sanctions the abuse of employees and their basic legal rights to expect a fair and equitable wage for a fair day’s work. This premise is how countries have been built and yet in our so called modern day times we are still seeing these age-old abuses rear their heads. Is it possible that this exposes that the issue is deeper than one industry? Is it possible that this attitude and abuse permeates our very fabric of society?
Why is it that just one person feels like it is okay to commit this crime?
Why is it that a number of businesses within the hospitality field choose to perpetuate this crime?
Reading reports on this behaviour is staggering. After a 3 year investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman in Australia, writes the Australian newspaper back in 2016*, found hospitality workers in 800 employer situations short changed by 2.3 million dollars. It was also revealed that workplace compliance sat at 52%.
This was just one section of the hospitality industry and highlights the difficulty in policing the small businesses that abound in the hospitality world but also the fact that owners and business managers are not taking a responsible approach to business and the requirements that not only keep the doors open long term but also promote and support the employee and customer to want to work/frequent a place.
The basic foundations of simple & supportive systems like paying someone what they are worth and issuing a payslip are negated to line a person's pocket.
What then does this say of the quality of the experience, of the food that is being served day after day – night after night?
If I am greedy in my own house how can I expect to feed someone nourishing food?
If I care not for the welfare of my employees how is it possible I can respect and deeply care for a customer?
This is not just about pay but about the 3rd world conditions that some of our employees are being employed in. This is and I underline this point – is not a series of one off random events – they are being exposed with regularity and again there in this regularity lies a deeper question.
What has happened or is happening, truly, to the industry that touts itself as one of the best in the world that people are abused in this or any other way?
In this day and age why do we still seek monetary gain over others in mean and despicable ways?
Why is it that food business owners feel that it is okay to knowingly underpay another human being?
And why is it that our industry is not joining hands and getting to the bottom of this corrupt practice along with all the others?
Even at the top of the pile, the corrupt need to underpay workers has been deeply exposed – this greed and unscrupulous necessity to have more than another is indicative, not just of the industry, but to our societal values that permeate our every action.