Symmetry

Imagine this ….

A food business has underpaid its workers.  The underpayment was probably not because of malice but because of the breathtaking complexity of the Australian industrial relations laws.

What happens?

If you are George Calombaris, you lose your job on TV, your reputation is destroyed, your business is destroyed and you are forced to sell your house.

If you are:

what happens?  Nothing or would that be McNuffin.

With the demise of Calombaris’ business, 400 people will lose their jobs.

If Woolworths, McDonalds or Domino’s Pizza were at threat of closure, there would be government support packages thrown left, right and centre.

Calombaris is himself out of work.

Has anything happened to the CEO or Directors of Woolworths, McDonalds or Domino’s Pizza?

Economic justice.  Australian style.

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107 Responses to Symmetry

  1. Iampeter

    I’d go so far as to say there’s no such thing as “underpayment.” Are all these people getting paid less than they agreed to be paid?

    This is just another way employment laws twist honorable concepts like payment and turns them into entitlements.

  2. Beachcomber

    The underpayment was probably not because of malice but because of the breathtaking complexity of the Australian industrial relations laws.

    And apparently it was self-reported by Calombaris co.

    With the demise of Calombaris’ business, 400 people will lose their jobs.

    The ABC-TASS media must be very pleased with themselves.

  3. This is just another way employment laws twist honorable concepts like payment and turns them into entitlements.

    Fair enough Iampeter, but why does one get destroyed while others get rewarded – for the same conduct.

    One might suggest the privilege of scale and the access that it brings in this sunburned country.

  4. Archivist

    It’s outrageous what the ATO did to Calombaris.
    The ATO is the leading cause of business bankruptcy in Australia, btw.

  5. Beachcomber

    Iampeter at 2:58 pm

    Indeed!

  6. Roger

    Are all these people getting paid less than they agreed to be paid?

    Let me see..they signed an employment contract stipulating terms and coditions including pay rates.

    Columbaris (or his HR staff) paid them less than what was stipulated in the contract.

    Sounds like underpayment to me.

    Even Columbaris agreed and apologised for it.

    Why do you have to make everything so complicated, peter?

  7. Roger

    Why do you have to make everything so complicated, peter?

    Don’t answer that!

    It’s a rhetorical question.

  8. The decision to shut down the chef’s business comes after it emerged last year that Made Establishment staff were back-paid $7.8m in wages and superannuation in 2017.

    The Melbourne-based company was fined $200,000 by the Fair Work Ombudsman in July after current or former employees of the Press Club, Gazi and Hellenic Republic were back-paid for work between 2011 and 2017.

    Unions were outraged with the size of the fine, saying it should have been bigger.

    The unions hard at work once more, protecting workers rights. I guess the union is hard at work looking for new employment for these people.

  9. Archivist

    Australia is so screwed.

  10. Archivist

    Columbaris (or his HR staff) paid them less than what was stipulated in the contract.

    The awards changed and Calumaris’ company didn’t update their payment systems accordingly.

  11. shatterzzz

    I suppose, given that most of these top level chefs manage to come across as pretentious wankers (looking at you, George!) then when something goes wrong the boot gets stuck in .. BIGGLY!

  12. dan

    i was underpaid inadvertently and received a lump sum covering several years. I wouldn’t want my employer (a public hospital) to go broke and close down as a result.

  13. Fred

    Funny how employers always underpay.

    We never hear of employers overpaying by mistake.

    I wonder why?

  14. Archivist

    I suppose, given that most of these top level chefs manage to come across as pretentious wankers (looking at you, George!) then when something goes wrong the boot gets stuck in .. BIGGLY!

    Last I heard, being a pretentious wanker was not a crime.

    He’s out of business, financially ruined, several restaurants have vaporised, and 400 people lost their jobs, but you’re enjoying this financial and personal destruction because you personally think he’s a bit of a wanker. Let’s just say, that doesn’t reflect well on your character.

  15. Archivist

    Funny how employers always underpay.

    Yeah, it’s funny because it’s not true. They do sometimes overpay.

    We never hear of employers overpaying by mistake.

    That’s because there are no laws against it.
    If an employer overpays, then no government agency is interested in prosecuting them. Literally nothing will happen.

  16. Yarpos

    No symmetry because its a massive false equivalence. Get big, have poor oversight and small cash reserves and there are consequences. If you run a SME they are yours.

  17. candy

    Calombaris is like a tall poppy to be cut down. He had a face to his company, where Woolworths are huge and impersonal, and he could be seen to be cut down by unions etc.

    He’s of Greek heritage too, there is always the possibility of some racism there.

    I go with the complexity line. To deliberately underpay and ruin your successful hard working business, with a national personal image to go with it – makes no sense.

  18. Infidel Tiger

    A food business has underpaid its workers. The underpayment was probably not because of malice but because of the breathtaking complexity of the Australian industrial relations laws.

    Amazing that we have not yet found a case of overpayment from this complex system.

    Gimme a break.

  19. Infidel Tiger

    Colombaris was disgusting.

    Continually ate of his knife. His demise is welcomed by all righteous people who value manners.

  20. Allen

    Remembering Bill Shorten’s Cleanaway agreements, it would be interesting to see which unions covered the organisations when the employment agreements were introduced, and which union discovered the problems, and which union now covers those organisations.

  21. Sean

    I bet Domino’s, Woolworths and Coles spend a lot more money than George on advertising $$$

  22. Robber Baron

    Calombaris sold 60% of his business to multi-millionaire Radek Sali over a year ago. Sali took control of the empire. Looks like he made a bad investment and closed it down to stop him from losing any more money.

    We don’t know why Calombaris sold his properties. Perhaps he is ready to leave the country and is cashing up. I know his Toorak neighbors will be delighted when he leaves.

    Running a food business is a tough. Most fail.

  23. Archivist

    Amazing that we have not yet found a case of overpayment from this complex system.

    Gimme a break.

    They happen. Why would you expect to hear about a case of overpayment? There is no reason for it to ever get into the news.

    But there are admittedly more cases of under than overpayment. That’s because regulatory changes always shift entitlements up, not down, so an out-of-date payroll system is likely to underpay.

  24. Amazing that we have not yet found a case of overpayment from this complex system

    Maybe the Commonwealth will offer to licence its RoboDebt system to recover salary overpayments. They can use AI and ATO data.

  25. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    From Yarpos at 3:57 pm:

    “No symmetry because its a massive false equivalence. Get big, have poor oversight and small cash reserves and there are consequences. If you run a SME they are yours.”

    This is not my field of expertise so I don’t know the jargon or the usually unnecessary acronyms. A reasonable assumption when you are posting about a specialised subject before strangers is that a lot of them would be in the same boat.

    Let us in on the secret code for insiders which will reveal the meaning of “SME”.

  26. Colonel Crispin Berka

    We need a new word to describe this type of political economy.
    Where the rules are so labyrinthine and cover so much activity that anybody can be prosecuted for something at any time, but the more tax you collect the less chance the law will be selectively enforced against you and the more opportunity to have it enforced against your own enemies for any or no reason. A land of lawful injustice prioritised by revenue-raising ability.

    Cryptofeudalism?

    Just good old fashioned Oligarchy?

  27. nb

    Colonel Berka, I salute you. Regulation, regulation, regulation. A rulocracy? A bureaucracy?

  28. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    I’d argue there is no such creature as an “underpaid ALPBC employee”, but lo and behold, guess who also got busted underpaying current and former “employees”?

    ABC to begin repaying nearly 2,000 underpaid staff next month

  29. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    We need a new word to describe this type of political economy.

    Anarcho-tyranny, Idiocracy, Kakistocracy.

  30. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    From Infidel Tiger at 4:06 pm:

    “Colombaris was disgusting.

    Continually ate of (sic) his knife. His demise is welcomed by all righteous people who value manners.”

    Whaddya expect? He’s Greek for Pete’s sake! (Candy said so at 03:59 pm) and his Toorak neighbors will be delighted when he leaves (Robber Barron knowed this as a true truth by 4:13 pm already).

  31. Iampeter

    Let me see..they signed an employment contract stipulating terms and coditions including pay rates.
    Columbaris (or his HR staff) paid them less than what was stipulated in the contract.

    If that’s what happened then you’re right and it’s indeed underpayment.
    But did all these employees really receive incorrect salary every pay cycle and just not say anything?

    Why do you have to make everything so complicated, peter?
    Don’t answer that!
    It’s a rhetorical question.

    Haha. Seriously though, people need to learn to think in terms of fundamentals. Then they’ll be able to actually talk about abstract concepts like politics and economics instead of just pretending to do so by throwing around random technicalities.

  32. JC

    I think it was a little more than “underpayment”. I have no great issue with accusations of underpayment because people are adults and if they decide to work to an agreed pay rate even if it’s below the mandated award, then so be it.

    From what I’ve heard, Colombaris kept the tips and he also charged people for their uniforms and work clothes. That makes him a prick. The tips weren’t his to keep.

  33. The BigBlueCat

    Archivist
    #3320156, posted on February 11, 2020 at 3:48 pm
    Funny how employers always underpay.

    Yeah, it’s funny because it’s not true. They do sometimes overpay.

    We never hear of employers overpaying by mistake.

    That’s because there are no laws against it.
    If an employer overpays, then no government agency is interested in prosecuting them. Literally nothing will happen.

    Overpayment does indeed happen, but you cannot expect an immediate recovery of the overpayment from the employee. You can only extract it from them piecemeal ….

  34. Maybe he should’ve paid his workers properly.
    .like most other employers manage to do

  35. EvilElvis

    If Woolworths, McDonalds or Domino’s Pizza were at threat of closure, there would be government support packages thrown left, right and centre.

    Government and corporates go hand in hand, or more likely are stuck in a perpetual ’69’ choking on each other’s tiny cocks. Calombaris is just a little wanker who wants to do his own thing, doesn’t want to suck cock but didn’t quite tickle the fancy of a few employs. Enter Government, they pin him and fuck him. Ask his employees how well off they are now with no love, not even the little bit Calombaris uses to give them. The Government won’t let them in on their action either. The sucking continues.

  36. Maybe he should’ve paid his workers properly like most other employers manage to do

  37. Chris M

    Well at least the workers got their extra couple of dollars per hour, for a month or so. All the best with the job search.

  38. Entropy

    prosecuting them. Literally nothing will happen.

    Overpayment does indeed happen, but you cannot expect an immediate recovery of the overpayment from the employee. You can only extract it from them piecemeal ….

    Yep, you would be amazed how often it happens, even in the public service. You have situations where people might be overpaid thousands over years, and the repayment arrangement is as little as $20 a week.
    If you remember the $1 B Queensland health payment debacle about ten years ago, that was a lot of overpayment. There were others of course that got no pay at all.p for weeks. Good on ya IBM, and Anna Bligh!

  39. Archivist

    ABC to begin repaying nearly 2,000 underpaid staff next month

    Why does the headline not say “WAGE THEFT” in huge letters?

    If one instance of underpayment is “Wage theft”, then they are all instances of “wage theft”.

  40. Most threads – on newsmedia sites, blogs, twitter, etc – are 99% full of people actually gloating over Mr. Calombaris’ misfortune.

    Even fewer commenters exhibit any grasp of the situation.
    Clueless comments abound. Everywhere.
    The above thread is actually one of the more enlightened I’ve seen.

    The matter unfolded thus:
    Calombaris’s operation is near two dozen sites in multiple cities.
    There is no way he is personally involved in any aspect of day to day operations of any part of it.
    The occasional appearance at one or more venues notwithstanding.

    The payroll was handled by a firm which specialises in payroll.
    Calombaris’ equity partner commissioned an audit.
    Said audit detected longstanding minor underpayment of wages.
    Over many years & hundreds of employees these few cents added up to a couple of million.
    Mr. Calombaris reported this underpayment to the FWO.
    Upon Calombaris going public, the payroll contractor firm walked (gutless bastards)
    This left Calombaris holding the mess personally.
    The company set about totting up a total for the underpayments.
    The answer was $7.8 million – a surprise to everybody.
    No staff ever knew they were underpaid – a few griping malcontents notwithstanding.
    As soon as the total was known, the company rectified all underpayments.
    The FWO then fined the company a couple of hundred grand for being honest about it.
    The public piled onto Calombaris with a very public lynching.

  41. Biota

    Mick
    Let us in on the secret code for insiders which will reveal the meaning of “SME”.
    Small to Medium Enterprise

  42. vr

    I know of an ethnic grocery store open 365 days from 10am – 9pm. Do you think they are paying award wages?

  43. vr

    From what I’ve heard, Colombaris kept the tips and he also charged people for their uniforms and work clothes. That makes him a prick. The tips weren’t his to keep.

    It seems most online businesses that have tips (doordash in the US) does this. I am not sure what % of tipes UBER keeps for itself.

    Not letting them keep tips is bad form.

  44. Professor Fred Lenin

    Its only right that the little man gets screwed, saves the department being exposed by the rottweier lawyers of woolies etc , we cant have their incompetence exposed to the public .
    Life should be uncomplicated in a public service sinecure .

  45. JC

    STFU Driller

    There were two parts to the discovery process. The first one was when Colombaris fessed up to underpayment of 162 staff.

    When the FW Commissioner went in, they raised this to $7.8 million and then $8.15 million.

    Here:

    The full extent of the underpayment scandal has dwarfed initial estimates by Calombaris from April 2017, when his company Made Establishment announced that 162 workers had been underpaid AU$2.6 million (NZ$2.71 million) because of “historically poor processes”.

    A four-year investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman uncovered a raft of breaches, including a failure to pay minimum award rates, penalty rates, casual loadings, overtime rates, split-shift allowances and annual leave loadings.

    Made Establishment also failed to keep records of the hours worked by staff on annualised salaries, some of whom were also denied accrued overtime and penalty rates.

    Go pour drinks.

  46. mh

    KordaMentha blamed “difficult trading conditions in the hospitality industry” and services such as UberEats for changing costumer tastes to cheaper dining options.

    All outstanding wages and super have been paid. If the business model is still viable the creditors will be thrashing something out at the creditors meeting to allow the company to continue trading.

    However, the advise by the appointed administrators makes it sound like that business model is no longer viable.

  47. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    just working out which award an employee comes under is a nightmare. then keeping track of which parts, what changes, other interaction with other agreements as the worker progresses through the business is likely to inflict a mental breakdown.

    it’s kafkaesque bureaucracy in the extreme.

  48. sabena

    But,but,but-Colombaris lived in a Toorak mansion.Who does he think he is-Julian Burnside?If he had joined the Greens,none of this would have happened.

  49. JC

    However, the advise by the appointed administrators makes it sound like that business model is no longer viable.

    There was no business model at the end. There was no theme to the businesses at all. With a few exceptions most of the shop fronts had no relationship to the other parts. A kebab chain to an upscale overpriced restaurant like the press club.

    It didn’t fail because they owed the back pay, he failed because in the end customer sales didn’t make up the expenses and people didn’t show up because his offerings weren’t that attractive.

    Being so disjointed meant that he couldn’t negotiate volume discounts on goods purchased.

  50. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    No staff ever knew they were underpaid – a few griping malcontents notwithstanding.

    award staff in general have absolutely no idea what they are supposed to be paid or often even what award they are under, let alone what all the sub clauses and endless variations are.

  51. Tel

    Upon Calombaris going public, the payroll contractor firm walked (gutless bastards)
    This left Calombaris holding the mess personally.

    Don’t they provide any guarantee?

  52. Colonel Bunty Golightly

    No doubt caused by climate change!

  53. mh

    JC, I’m in agreement with you.

    The staff underpayments and subsequent fallout aren’t the reason the business has been ‘destroyed’, to use Sparty’s term.

  54. A four-year investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman uncovered a raft of breaches, including a failure to pay minimum award rates, penalty rates, casual loadings, overtime rates, split-shift allowances and annual leave loadings.

    This is not as it seems.
    The FWO “deemed” the salary loadings-in-lieu-of-overtime to be invalid, & then deemed the salary +25% loading to be the base wage.
    From there the FWO calculated added on penalties & loadings – this is how it got to the point Calombaris has mentioned a few times – “$100 an hour dishwashers”

    The FWO really went for him.
    I wish people who have never walked the walk would not make fools of themselves by rushing to a conclusion about which they are clueless.
    If you’ve never dealt with the complexities of the FWA, stfu & listen to people who have experience.

  55. Roger

    Being so disjointed meant that he couldn’t negotiate volume discounts on goods purchased.

    It certainly was an odd business model.

  56. Fair shake of the sauce

    Their ABC underpaid 2,500 casual staff to the tune of $23m

    But they still get to lecture business.

  57. Archivist

    The staff underpayments and subsequent fallout aren’t the reason the business has been ‘destroyed’, to use Sparty’s term.

    How could it not be a contributing factor?

  58. Their ABC underpaid 2,500 casual staff to the tune of $23m
    But they still get to lecture business.

    Virtue Signaller: [full of righteous anger] “Calombaris deserves to be shut down, boycotted until he’s gone”
    Me: “Why?”
    VS: “Coz underpayments are theft – I refuse to eat there, the company must be closed down”
    Me: “Do you watch the ABC?”
    VS: “????? wtf??”
    Me: “ABC has underpaid more than triple the amount Calombaris underpaid – if you still consume ABC news & programs you’re supporting wage theft”
    VS: “er…. ” [pause for quick google]

    Quite a few people aren’t talking to me anymore.

  59. The staff underpayments and subsequent fallout aren’t the reason the business has been ‘destroyed’, to use Sparty’s term.

    How could it not be a contributing factor?

    Quite so. The tables went quiet at the exact moment the underpayment went public.
    It will have finished off what was already a difficult & disparate shamozzle to keep in the black.

  60. Roger

    The staff underpayments and subsequent fallout aren’t the reason the business has been ‘destroyed’, to use Sparty’s term.

    How could it not be a contributing factor?

    Contributing factor or not, in this country a business owner has an obligation to pay employees a legal minimum.

    Object if you wish and make the case for no minimum wage, by all means, but until the parliament decrees otherwise, that is the law.

    Those who fail to comply with this state of affairs will pay a penalty. On that, at least, sparty has a point re the treatment of Columbaris compared with large corprate entities.

  61. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    Why does the headline not say “WAGE THEFT” in huge letters?

    Because the ALPBC are sanctimonious unaccountable hypocrites hoovering billions of other peoples’ money like there’s no tomorrow. Which for them, there would be, if I had my way.

  62. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    would not be, FFS …

  63. Tel

    The FWO “deemed” the salary loadings-in-lieu-of-overtime to be invalid, & then deemed the salary +25% loading to be the base wage.

    That’s outrageous … do you have a link to source documents on that?

  64. Contributing factor or not, in this country a business owner has an obligation to pay employees a legal minimum.
    Object if you wish and make the case for no minimum wage, by all means, but until the parliament decrees otherwise, that is the law.
    Those who fail to comply with this state of affairs will pay a penalty. On that, at least, sparty has a point re the treatment of Columbaris compared with large corprate entities.

    The issue is that underpayments are inadvertent.
    The award system is so complex that nobody is able to get it right. Not Qantas, not Maurice Blackburn, not Woolworths, not Lush Soap, not anybody. Especially not a complex restaurant business.

    Penalties, both financial & social, are disproportionate (clean off the richter scale actually) to the offence.

    The awards are so complex that even if by some miracle you’ve got it perfectly right, an arbitrator will deem you to be incorrect – eg, the “front office” staff is actually “customer service” or something, & should be on a pay rate that is Eleven cents an hour different – & you’re now a “wage thief” deserving of a public pillorying.

  65. Archivist

    Contributing factor or not, in this country a business owner has an obligation to pay employees a legal minimum.

    I’m surprised at how many hectoring, po-faced commies are on this thread.

    There are a lot of tripwires in the payroll for modern Australian companies. It’s complex and easy to make a mistake.

  66. Archivist

    The awards are so complex that even if by some miracle you’ve got it perfectly right, an arbitrator will deem you to be incorrect – eg, the “front office” staff is actually “customer service” or something, & should be on a pay rate that is Eleven cents an hour different – & you’re now a “wage thief” deserving of a public pillorying.

    This is the problem, right here.

    Even the ABC is guilty of “wage theft” aka failing to navigate the byzantine payroll regulations.

  67. Rob MW

    A food business has underpaid its workers. The underpayment was probably not because of malice but because of the breathtaking complexity of the Australian industrial relations laws.

    It is definitely awe inspiring to see how an over-aggressive centralised wage fixing system can lead to the efficiency and productivity gained by standing in the express line at Centrelink. It’s beyond shameful that Commonwealth legislation could cause this much harm without a consequential relief/remedy package instead of flat-out bankrupting businesses for no gain all the way round.

  68. That’s outrageous … do you have a link to source documents on that?

    Not readily to hand.
    There’s now so much stuff printed about Calombaris underpayments that it is difficult to find anything.

    I’ve followed it closely from the beginning – due to the parallels between his business & mine.
    Of all places, it is probably to be found somewhere on the Cat, coz I posted quite a bit about it a year or two ago.
    That was one of the key points – a considerable number of staff on salary plus loading were obtusely deemed by the FWO to be invalid arrangements, & thus the calculations were all done again by the FWO from a new higher starting point.

    Many commenters at the time were unable to distinguish between a loading being considered the base rate, & a loading that may not have been sufficient to cover the amount of overtime worked.
    (Sometimes fellow Cats cause me to wonder – if they can’t grasp this stuff, no surprise journalists, politicians can’t, never mind the average low-information voter)

  69. Archivist

    Salvatore is on the money.
    I’m quote-repeating this bit, just in case several of the dummies missed it.
    Read this, people, very slowly. Move your lips if you have to.

    The award system is so complex that nobody is able to get it right. Not Qantas, not Maurice Blackburn, not Woolworths, not Lush Soap, not anybody. Especially not a complex restaurant business.

  70. Even the ABC is guilty of “wage theft” aka failing to navigate the byzantine payroll regulations.

    Lol… No.
    The ABC is one of the few underpayers who indisputably did it deliberately.

    Their ABC made a decision to pay all casuals at $20 per hour – flat rate. Their own internal correspondence stated they would “opt out” of penalty rates, weekend loadings & every other penalty or loading.
    Notwithstanding the $20 per hour was lower than minimum casual rate.

    This is the same ABC that reported on the Cleanevent “flat rate” award & how unjust it was, blah blah blah.

  71. Old School Conservative

    So the “Fair” Work Ombudsman took 4 years to find the mistakes and made their own mistake in the initial amount of underpayment.
    But let’s get the pretentious wanker.
    George would have many reasons for feeling hard done by. Especially since the payroll company appears to have walked unscathed.

  72. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    then deemed the salary +25% loading to be the base wage.

    tel, that’s the standard pay rate for casuals, as they aren’t eligible for leave.

    Here’s the FWO’s press release on the “enforcable undertaking” imposed on the Calombaris companies involved. This sentence is particularly enlightening:

    MADE Establishment will also make a $200,000 contrition payment to the Commonwealth Government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund.

    Scroll down to the enforcable undertaking docs and you’ll eventually find the detail mentioned above.

    I have to regularly deal with both the FWC and the FWO in the course of my work. I’d wish on them the same fate I wish on the ALPBC and the family kangaroo court, i.e. that all of the rotten stinking cesspits be utterly destroyed.

  73. mh

    Quite so. The tables went quiet at the exact moment the underpayment went public.

    The exact moment?

    Wow. The media are that powerful and the public so conscientious!

  74. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    the standard pay rate for casuals, as they aren’t eligible for leave

    Although the unions and the courts/FWC are doing their darndest to ensure that casuals be granted leave as well as the base salary rate and the 25% loading.

  75. Archivist

    Wow. The media are that powerful and the public so conscientious!

    It was all over the news and terrible PR.

  76. Leigh Lowe

    My biggest problem is not so much sitting cheek-by-jowl with someone in a Grik restaurant as you did at Press Club.
    That’s how Griks eat and it can be fun.
    But paying 20 bucks for three thimbles of Grik dip?
    Come on!
    But the problem is, George’s backers want a 50% return after 12 months, along with interior designers ($2 meg), branding consultants ($1.5 meg), etc, etc.
    FMD.
    Swan St Richmond is loaded with top Grik restaurants, which are equal in quality to George’s but far cheaper.
    Fucking hell, we ate a whole sea bass plus calamari and a salad on the beach in the Grik islands for the price of three dips and a sparse, soggy lamb salad at Press Club.

  77. So the “Fair” Work Ombudsman took 4 years to find the mistakes

    This is the clue as to how obvious the underpayments were.

  78. Fucking hell, we ate a whole sea bass plus calamari and a salad on the beach in the Grik islands for the price of three dips and a sparse, soggy lamb salad at Press Club.

    Penalty rates & working conditions may differ in the Grik Islands.

  79. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    Yeah, no, MH. The anti business daily’s failing website is paywalled.

  80. Tel

    Actually the FWO press release explains precisely nothing.

    They gloat over how hard they hit this guy, but completely fail to explain what he did wrong or how they calculate the damages.

    Can’t a real court at least give this a look over?

  81. Leigh Lowe

    Penalty rates & working conditions may differ in the Grik Islands.

    I reckon they do, but I also don’t reckon they paid interior designers and branding consultants shitloads of cash.
    No power (all cooking over coals), no phone, no internet, no advertising.
    Waiting list of 50 out the front.
    Free cask wine for those in the queue.
    No written wait list. The proprietor had it all in his head and didn’t miss a beat.
    Best Grik meal ever.
    Top day.

  82. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    tel – I stated the detail is in the enforcable undertaking docs, not the press release.

    Don’t bother trying to read them, you’ll end up slashing your wrists, or going mad and joining the greenfilth.

    Or possibly both.

  83. Leigh Lowe

    I think the “celebrity chef chain restaurant” business model simply doesn’t work.
    Exhibit A : George.
    Exhibit B : Heston Blumenthal at Crown.
    Exhibit C : Jamie Oliver’s “wanna pay $35 for shit pasta” Italian restaurant chain.
    Exhibit D : Shannon Bennet. Not broke yet? Watch this sp space.

  84. JC

    Quite so. The tables went quiet at the exact moment the underpayment went public.

    hahahahahahahahaha Driller knows this because .. because he hallucinated and saw it in a dream.

    I’ve followed it closely from the beginning – due to the parallels between his business & mine.

    Driller, are these parallels because you’re in the same line of business.. hospitality, or because both businesses are failing? Sure, it could also be a combination of both I suppose.

    I wish people who have never walked the walk would not make fools of themselves by rushing to a conclusion about which they are clueless.
    If you’ve never dealt with the complexities of the FWA, stfu & listen to people who have experience.

    Oh no, the lived experience routine presents it ugly head for under the table cloth. Lord almighty.

    Seriously dude, you once bragged here that you manage a pub owner’s blog. If that’s true I genuinely feel sorry for any of the fuckers at the site. Your own blog was a miserable failure because you’re a boring narcissist and there’s only so much narcissism any normal person can take. And the way you behave here suggests you ought to be the least likely person to ever manage the site like that.

    But on a more pleasant note, how’s your pal, Marcus Adonis going? When you see that mangy plagiarist be sure to pass him my regards.

  85. mh

    Spurgeon Monkfish III
    #3320547, posted on February 11, 2020 at 9:14 pm
    Yeah, no, MH. The anti business daily’s failing website is paywalled.

    I read it, but just went back and it’s paywalled.

    It started off with a hospitality industry spokesman ripping into the media, the complex penalty rate system, the union campaign, and the Fair Work Ombudsman.

    Then the article goes into the ‘perfect storm’, bushfires, coronavirus etc.

    Also talks about which of the businesses will keep trading.

  86. Actually the FWO press release explains precisely nothing.

    It’s definitely from the FWO then, & not somebody pretending to be them.

  87. Penalty rates & working conditions may differ in the Grik Islands.

    I reckon they do, but I also don’t reckon they paid interior designers and branding consultants shitloads of cash.
    No power (all cooking over coals), no phone, no internet, no advertising.
    Waiting list of 50 out the front.
    Free cask wine for those in the queue.

    Crikey, they’ve broken about 100 laws if they were in Oz.
    It’s easy to see why everything is so bluddee expensive here.

  88. JC

    Driller

    I’m going to start referring to the lived experience shtick as intersectional pubbling from now. It’s a version of 4th wave feminism but for pubbling.

  89. Leigh Lowe

    The pay issue may have accelerated it, but the “celebrity chain restaurant” model is destined to fail.
    You can’t serve a $10 meal and expect the diner to pay an extra $15 for ambience, decor, background music (which is inevitably some conversation killing doof-doof), Japanese cutlery and plates, yada, yada.

  90. the “celebrity chain restaurant” model is destined to fail.

    Certainly it’s not a concept I’d sink cash into.
    I’ve some idea, I’ve lost more money in the food game than a lot of people have managed to. This probably makes me some sort of reverse-midas expert, or something.

  91. Hasbeen

    When I decided to drop out, I spent some time getting a number of skipper tickets, then went looking for a job driving tourist boats in the Great Barrier Reef. I got a job with a smallish privately owned island resort. I did the water skying, about half the fishing trips, a fair few trips to other resort islands, & all the over night & up to a week outer reef trips.

    I worked most days from 7.00 AM to 6.00 PM, & got a day off about once every 10 days. For this I was paid about 80% of the award rate for a 37 hour normal working week & keep. Why did I do it, it was a great way to spend time, I enjoyed the place the people I worked with, most of the tourists & liked the boss. I was involved enough in the cost & income of the place to know he could not afford to pay more.

    Most of the operations were offering similar remuneration, & most long term employees enjoyed the life style & were happy with their lot. When one of my deck hands was asked why he worked for so little money, his answer was “I would pay the boss more than my wages every week to let me work here”.

    There are many things more important in this life than your pay rate.

  92. Amused

    The EBAs responsible for the underpayment of Woolworths, McDonalds and Dominos staff were all the product of the largest union in Labour, SDA.

    It’s OK if union brokered EBAs underpay people. They won’t persecute their own.

  93. Amused

    * Labor. Fecking illiterate morons.

    Calombaris never stood a chance.

  94. Porter

    The thing is Calombaris paid 7.8 million dollars worth of arrears to over 500 staff who were owed some money over a period of years after auditors had gone through the books. He paid up. Many others would have just closed up shop and not paid it all. So maybe the shrieking harridans like Orlaith Belfrage and her ABC friends can be held responsible for the loss of 400 jobs.

  95. Up The Workers!

    I hear that the workers at Chiquita Mushrooms, Unibuilt Constructions and Cleanevent were all comprehensively screwed over in their respective E.B.A. negotiations a few years ago and were consequently grossly underpaid, with their conditions having gone distinctly backwards.

    Maybe they should have all joined the A.W.U., in which case their negotiations would have been expertly handled by the A.L.P.’s crack negotiator, Comrade Bull Shitten rather than the two-faced slimy grub who slithered out of the negotiations in each case with a personal brown paper bag of employers’ dirty cash stuffed in his briefcase.

    Ohh…err…hang on just a minute….

  96. Iampeter

    I’m surprised at how many hectoring, po-faced commies are on this thread.

    Really? You must be new here.

    You should follow some more threads. You ain’t seen nuttin’ yet.

  97. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    Headline in today’s Oz – might explain why the Toorak McMansion is up for sale:

    Victoria sues chef for personal assets

    The “chef” being Calombaris. Anyone have access to the “exclusive”? I’m just wondering on what grounds “Victoria” is pursuing Calombaris if his transgressions were breaches of federal IR law.

    If it’s for the reason(s) I think it is, then it’s yet more evidence that government in this stupid, stupid country is absolutely out of control and we effectively exist in a state of anarcho-tyranny.

  98. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    Victoriastan, of course, being the state most advanced down the road to totalitarian anarcho-tyranny (BIRM).

  99. max

    Iampeter:

    people need to learn to think in terms of fundamentals.

    let educate us, what are fundamentals?
    what/where is beginning ?

  100. Bruce

    @ Archivist:

    “Last I heard, being a pretentious wanker was not a crime. ”

    By all appearances, in LSM / politics / showbiz fields, it’s compulsory and “slackers” are hunted down and publicly destroyed.

    Well may we say: “Politics is show business for ugly people”, but nothing seems to be said about how “Show-Biz is politics for the “beautiful people”.

  101. rickw

    The underpayment was probably not because of malice but because of the breathtaking complexity of the Australian industrial relations laws.

    And most importantly, workers agreed to it by continually turning up to work!

    Australia is gives Communist Shitholes a bad name.

    Even peak USSR wasn’t this self destructive.

    Actually Owen V Kalashnikov is a nice comparison of the mentalities.

    Kalashnikov get’s taken off the front line and get’s full machine shop access to develop his ideas and ultimately becomes a national hero.

    Owen gets bugger all assistance and ultimately dies in obscurity. Lucky not to be locked up for illegal gun manufacture if not for pragmatism of local policeman.

  102. The “chef” being Calombaris. Anyone have access to the “exclusive”? I’m just wondering on what grounds “Victoria” is pursuing Calombaris if his transgressions were breaches of federal IR law.

    The article says unpaid arrears of land tax.
    Convenient.

  103. Porter

    We don’t ip in Australia and we don’t tip because we pay our wait staff quite a lot including penalty rates.,
    And sick pay and holiday pay for the non casuals. In some countries wait staff get zero wages and make their entire living by tips. So if any idiot is idiotic enough to pay a tip then if I were the owner I’d pocket t as well

  104. Porter

    Basically he’s the deal. The unions hate Calombaris and that is good enough reason for every man and his dog to go after him. It also deflects from the corruption of the unions. Meetings Calombaris had a non-unionised workforce.

  105. John A

    Porter #3321463, posted on February 12, 2020 at 7:37 pm

    We don’t tip in Australia and we don’t tip because we pay our wait staff quite a lot including penalty rates.,
    And sick pay and holiday pay for the non-casuals. In some countries, wait staff get zero wages and make their entire living by tips. So if any idiot is idiotic enough to pay a tip then if I were the owner I’d pocket t as well

    No, tips go to the staff who give service ‘above and beyond’. George should not have withheld the tips unless it was part of the terms of the EBA with his staff (unlikely).

    According to Darwinian economics, rudeness and poor quality in a restaurant business should see that business expire, as others have already said.

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