Hipster burger chain Mary’s has been slammed by the union representing hospitality workers over a serious of serious claims made by staff.
Hospo Voice, the industry arm of the United Workers Union, said it’s concerned by allegations of staff being overworked, underpaid and subjected to a “toxic” culture.
In interviews with news.com.au, a number of current and former senior staff alleged they were expected to work up to 60 hours a week without being properly paid.
News.com.au also saw multiple pay slips and documents that show in some cases staff working up to 71 hours a week but not receiving overtime or time off in lieu.
Hospo Voice spokesperson Karma Lord described the allegations as “blatant, disheartening and unfair”.
The company declined to answer specific questions but provided a general statement, which read: “To comment on unsubstantiated allegations does not seem sympathetic to the fragility of such sensitive topics.
“As a business, we treat all staff matters with the respect and privacy they deserve.
“We are unaware of such allegations and have no claims placed against us. Our back of house systems are an open book to those authorities with a legitimate claim to seek them out.”
Ms Lord said claims about being hospitality workers being overworked and underpaid were upsetting but not surprising.
The restaurant industry had a number of systemic issues to sort out, she said.
“What’s really disheartening is that these kinds of stories of shoddy working conditions in hospitality have been making headlines for years now, and yet businesses still feel they can brazenly flout the law,” she said.
“Fairness is paying staff for the hours they’ve worked, keeping transparent employment records, and allowing staff to ask questions free from intimidation and retribution.”
Ms Lord said some restaurant operators treated staff underpayment as a mind of business model.
“It’s a calculated risk that they won’t get caught and if they are, the penalties will be light. Unfortunately, this is often true,” she said.
“Wage theft has recently been made a legislative crime in VIC and QLD. NSW and the rest of the country needs to follow suit.”
She said the best thing for workers who are concerned about their conditions should do was seek advice from their Union.
“They should join Hospo Voice, which is a digital union established specifically for hospitality workers where we know illegal practices are rife.
“Start by finding out what your rights are, find out what your choices are, and make an informed decision.
“When you’re ready to make a stand, join Hospo Voice for advice and support.”