28 June 2018
A former Sydney Caltex franchisee has been ordered to pay penalties of almost $100,000 for falsifying wage records, in another case of wage theft that could have been prevented by stronger State laws.
The Fair Work Ombudsman secured its highest penalty in a legal action relating solely to record-keeping and pay slip breaches.
A penalty of $16,038 was issued against Peter Dagher and $80,190 against his company Aulion Pty Ltd, which formerly operated the Caltex service station at Five Dock in Sydney’s inner west.
Six employees at the Five Dock outlet were migrant workers and all but one was an international student.
The case has prompted NSW Labor to again call for new wage theft laws to be aimed at employers who are getting away with flagrant abuses of the rights and entitlements of workers.
NSW Labor has committed to implementing stronger deterrents, as current penalties are not tough enough.
Labor has a five point plan to eliminate the exploitation of vulnerable workers and crack down on businesses that underpay their staff. It is as follows:
- A new wage theft law to criminalise the deliberate failure to pay wages and entitlements;
- New laws to hold head franchisors accountable for the actions of franchisees;
- Widened powers for workplace inspectors to undertake wage audits;
- A licensing scheme for labour hire companies, forcing them to comply with labour laws and ensuring they provide safe, fair and reasonable work conditions; and
- New laws to protect Sunday penalty rates in all state awards and agreements.
Quotes attributable to Labor Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations Adam Searle:
“It’s clear that the systematic exploitation of workers continues to impact employees all around the State.
“We need stronger laws and better enforcement, because there are still a number of unscrupulous employers that aren’t getting the message.
“NSW Labor will deliver a new wage theft law to criminalise the deliberate failure to pay wages and other entitlements.”