Hundreds of hospitality workers around the country may claim thousands of dollars in unpaid penalty rates, after shonky labour hire company AWX announced it would be winding down subsidiary Hospitality X and axing its notorious workplace agreement.
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The agreement, rolled out to the casual staff of an undisclosed number of pubs and clubs across the country, included a clause that removed workers’ penalty rates.
Workers had to sign the agreement to retain their jobs, effectively slashing their pay packets.
“This is a great win for our union members and the many people who’ve been involved in this campaign,” United Voice Secretary Gary Bullock said.
“We launched the fight against Hospitality X last year, after casual workers at the Capalaba Sports Club were forced to sign onto their dodgy workplace agreement to retain their jobs.
“This cost those workers dearly, with many left unable to pay their bills.
“Late last year, we took our fight to the courts by lodging an underpayment claim on behalf of several workers against Hospitality X
“Hospitality X has now paid those workers and may be liable for payouts to all workers previously employed under the agreement at clubs and pubs across the country.
“The company previously boasted that as many as 700 people were employed under the agreement, which is a lot of people who were ripped off and may want compensation.”
Ongoing public campaigning by United Voice against the Capalaba Sports Club forced the club’s hand, leading to an announcement in January it was terminating its agreement with the company.
United Voice also heard reports of other pubs and clubs quietly severing ties with the company after the publicity.
“United Voice viewed the Hospitality X scheme as a racket. Clubs and pubs were approached and encouraged to remove penalty rates from casual staff, so that the Hospitality X could take their cut,” Mr Bullock said.
For former Capalaba Sports Club worker Samarah Wilson, who campaigned tirelessly to have the Club remove the agreement and apologise to workers, seeing the agreement scrapped is a great win.
“It’s fantastic, not only for the workers now eligible for back-payment, but also for all the future hospitality workers who will now again be employed under the award, granting them fair compensation for their work on weekends and public holidays,” Samarah said.