The Price is Wrong.

There has been a lot of hand ringing about the revelations last week about the underpayment of salaries by the George Calombaris companies.  George Calobaris of Master Chef Fame that is.

Absolutely positively this is bad.  But some of the most vocal critics really need to have a good look at themselves before getting on their soap boxes.  Here for example is the latest from Jenna Price:

The wage thief must now be forced to sing for his supper. Just before the show opens, get Calombaris on the telly, dressed in blacks, urging viewers to join their unions. Get fellow judge Gary Mehigan to set out every single breach of workers’ rights the ombudsman found. Every time a single mum didn’t get her full pay. Every time a newly arrived migrant got ripped off, all $8 million worth.

Very neat how Price managed to throw in the “single mum” and “newly arrived migrant” as the only ones wronged as if this was the case and as if Price would know.  Nothing like a bit of intersectional bias into journalism from a “journalism academic”.  But TAFKAS does not seem to recall such hair lighting following the wage thefts by union officials such as Michael Williamson or Derick Belan.  What about some of the deals done by unions, such as the AWU at entities such as Chiquita Mushrooms.

TAFKAS also does not recall Price demanding any of the leaders of the AWU sing for their supper?

According to the Wikipedia, theft is:

the taking of another person’s property or services without that person’s permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it.

Note absence of reference to a crime.  But if theft is not a crime does that make it ok?  Does it make it hunky dory?

What if the theft is the act of taking a proportion of a person’s salary by force, without the person’s permission with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it?  What if such taking is permitted by an act of parliament?  Is legally taking something by force theft?  Hell yes it is.

The Australian constitution requires that the Commonwealth takes property from any state or any person, it must do so on just terms.  But why is not the spoils of ones labor not not considered property requiring just terms?

Just because a particular type of theft has been legalised does not mean it is not theft.

And Ms Price, perhaps someone who is the beneficiary of the legalised theft of wages should be a bit more modest and circumspect in their opinions.

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15 Responses to The Price is Wrong.

  1. stackja

    Selective outrage. I am shocked!

  2. Shy Ted

    It’s in the SMH. Nobody read it.

  3. Up The Workers!

    That’s a bit rude.

    Poor old George was merely copying the way that Bull Shitten, the well-known son of “Sadie the Cleaning Lady”, battlers buddy, friend of the Rich and Shameless and former aspiring Australian Prime Minister, looked after the salaries, wages and industrial interests of all those poor A.W.U. mushrooms at Chiquita Mushrooms, Unibuilt and Cleanevent, as revealed at the Trade Union Corruption Royal Commission.

    If George keeps up his egregious self-enrichment activities, who knows – one day he might be A.L.P. Prime Minister of Australia, with “The Goose” as Treasurer, Bull Shitten as Minister for Labor and Michael Williamson as Attorney General and Minister for Prisons.

  4. Fred

    Why would you want to join a union.

    If my hard earned is going to used to pay for hookers, I want to be the one getting the service!

  5. Elderly White Man From Skipton

    By the far the best example of this is compulsory superannuation. It is abundantly clear and has been from the start that unions in many cases saw this as a new career path. The result was a lot of nest feathering and nowadays a very large number of people who have done very well out of becoming superannuation trustees, advisers, staff and so on.
    If the idea really was one of reducing pension liability then the funds would have had firm expense ratios, which would have prevented the proliferation and gouging. But it wasn’t, and the compulsion came with a ridiculous and complex set of arrangements that allowed “default” schemes (union deals) and employer choice (bank deals).

  6. Damienski

    Jenna Price wants George Calombaros to urge viewers to join unions. Perhaps Jenna Price could outline what role the union played in uncovering the underpayments to employees.

    (Hint: The answer can be expressed as an integer somewhere between -1 and 1.)

  7. gowest

    Of course everyone reads it – who would be stupid enough to risk their hard earned readies to stimulate the economy when you can see 3 levels of govt/union piggies drooling, just waiting to steal it off you by any means fair or foul.

    Low wages are the key to gaining valuable (salable) experience and networks. A lesson these soon to be extinct prattlers have learned the hard way by sucking up… to keep the next gen out of the kitchen.

  8. alan moran

    Calombaros pays the wages that his employees willingly agree to receive. I am shocked, shocked!
    Perhaps some of them recognised that the training and experience they received at an establishment with a great reputation would stand them in good stead in a future career, rather like an ambitious student working without payment preparing a joint paper with a renowned professor.

    It was not that long ago that trainees paid a highly respected employer a premium to be taken on in recognition of the value the work experience would bring. Contrary to the views of Price (and perhaps others), even employees who are women and new arrivals are not stupid!

  9. The Fifth Bike Rider of the Apocalypse

    There has been a lot of hand ringing …

    Is hand ringing like bell ringing?

    Just askin’.

  10. a happy little debunker

    urging viewers to join their unions

    The unions that failed to detect or alert anyone to this ‘theft’?

  11. rickw

    If Colombaris paid them the full rate, how many wouldn’t have been employed as a consequence?

    In a country with a welfare system, there should be virtually zero wage regulation. The dole by default sets a minimum.

    Colombaris is being hung out to dry over regulation that shouldn’t even exist.

  12. Lee

    Very neat how Price managed to throw in the “single mum” and “newly arrived migrant” as the only ones wronged as if this was the case and as if Price would know.

    Considering that Price is about as far left as Adam Bandt, it’s hardly surprising that she would only mention them!

  13. Bruce of Newcastle

    Underlying root cause of the problem is Australian wage law. If a restaurateur can’t make ends meet with Australian minimum wages coupled with competition with family businesses etc then he either finds a way to pay what the work is worth or goes out of business.

    Not only restricted to restaurants of course, I seem to recall someone who underpaid their au pairs rather significantly. I wonder who that could be?

    But there’re other ways to make ends meet…

    Watch Live Demonstration Of Cleaning Robots That Will Displace Thousands Of Jobs (21 July)

    According to LionsBot, the cleaning robot is more efficient than a human and can work longer hours.

    My Compliments to the Chef, Er, Robot (WSJ 20 july, via Drudge)

    Automated machines take over New York kitchens

    I wonder why Robbie the restaurant robot is taking over NYC kitchens. Couldn’t possibly be due to minimum wage laws could it…?

    The new minimum wage is killing NYC’s once-thriving restaurant scene (30 Mar)

    Oops, looks like the law of unintended consequences has hit Mr De Blasio again. He better bone up on Asimov’s 3 Laws of Robotics.

  14. Soberinthemorning

    Dunno, it seems pretty reasonable to me that an employer should pay their employees their proper wages and not break the law.

    Criminal activity, union or employer, isn’t so great for functioning markets.

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