Should Channel 10 sack George Calombaris?
Following revelations that celebrity chef George Calombaris underpaid workers at his restaurant chains to the tune of almost $8 million there have been growing calls for the Masterchef star to lose his job over the fiasco.
A petition started by one of Mr Calombaris’s former waitresses Orlaith Belfrage is leading the charge for the network to sack the chef.
Ms Belfrage said Calombaris’ holding company, MAdE Establishment, still owes her $2000 in back wages. She also accused her former employer of not co-operating with the efforts of workers to seek recompense.
“I’ve been fighting to get back pay from my time working for Hellenic Republic for over 2 years,” Ms Belfrage explained. “I sent emails, made phone calls and sought legal advice. Still Made Establishment, George Calombaris’ company, refused to pay me for all of my work.
“George should pay a serious price for this massive theft of workers’ wages.
“How is it fair for him to steal over $7 million from workers is only fined only $200,000?”
Leading workplace advocates Maurice Blackburn Lawyers are concerned a $200,000 “contrition payment” agreed to by Mr Calombaris was not enough to discourage widespread underpayment in the hospitality industry.
Mr Calombaris was ordered to make the payment after the Fair Work Ombudsman found he underpaid 515 staff $7.83 million.
Maurice Blackburn’s Josh Bornstein said the $200,000 contrition payment was unlikely to discourage highly profitable restaurant businesses from exploiting workers.
“We are paying a huge price for policies and laws that have deunionised the labour market,” Mr Bornstein said.
“Without effective unions employees are unable to bargain for pay rises or to even ensure that they are being paid properly. Economic growth is jeopardised in these circumstances as wage stagnation means people stop spending.
“The Federal government needs to abandon its obsession with attacking and weakening unions and instead focus all of its efforts on arresting the low wages crisis.”
You can sign the petition calling for Mr Calombaris’s sacking here.
Do you watch Masterchef? Would you consider boycotting the program if Channel 10 refuses to sack Mr Calombaris?