George Calombaris wage theft
(Image: AAP/JOEL CARRETT)

After the fallout of the George Calombaris wages scandal, will we see any meaningful change in the issue of corporate wage theft? Crikey readers did not seem optimistic, pointing out — in responses to articles by Michael Bradley and Bernard Keane — that the problem was one of the governing and business classes’ exploitation of low-wage Australians. If change is going to come, it must be drastic.

On Calombaris and wage theft

Mark Dunstone writes: What about an employer who takes out superannuation from an employee’s salary but fails to pay that money to a super fund? Or superannuation compelled by law to be taken out of a worker’s salary but then lost by the super fund with no government guarantee and the worker having less rights than a equity holder in a corporation? The simple answer is that this is yet another example where corporations’ interests are held paramount by governments and individuals are treated with contempt.

Andrew Craick writes: The Liberal Party is all about class warfare. Push for removal of penalty rates for some of our lowest paid and hardest working people but don’t make it a crime to steal their money. Given the mass level of coercion going on in the industry to keep employees’ mouths shut with the threat to lose your jobs and having to go somewhere that could actually be worse. When you also factor in holding visas over people’s heads and charging them exorbitant rates to stay in crowded accommodation, these crimes are more akin to slavery and should be as such treated by the law. Worst part is this has been going of forever in the industry yet no one has cared about it for so long.

Keith Thomas writes: Let’s hope they go after all the other restaurants ripping off their staff with the same determination. The ATO should be required to do more audits without any fore-notice and with a focus on catching the offenders and, where possible offences have been committed in other areas, a requirement to pass on their suspicions to the respective agencies. Every dollar of tax evaded by these businesses is a dollar eventually taken from honest taxpayers.

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