The Greens are calling for a Royal Commission to fully investigate the extent of wage theft and below-award payment in Australia following reports today that Coles underpaid its staff by almost $20 million dollars, said Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP.
"Once again, we've seen that failings in our industrial laws are allowing some of Australia's biggest companies to pay workers at below award rates," said Mr Bandt.
"It seems clear that Coles is just the tip of a very big iceberg, and that's why we need a Royal Commission specifically looking into underpayment and wage theft across the country to protect workers and get to the bottom of the problem."
"We have a system in this country that favours big corporations over everyday workers, which encourages the kind of behaviour we've seen not just from Coles, but from other large employers. "
"It's not enough to just change the law if it's not going to be enforced. If a corporation didn't pay their tax, the government would take them to court, but when a corporation doesn't pay their workers, the government turns a blind eye."
"It's past time that we got to the bottom of what's gone rotten in the system and it's going to take a Royal Commission to do it."
NOTE: A link to the Senate's recent inquiry into penalty rates can be accessed here. www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Education_and_Employment/PenaltyRates/Report. The Greens' earlier recommendation for a Royal Commission can be found on page 55.
Please note: the Royal Commission is not into any organisation in particular and nor is it sector specific, but instead aims to fully investigate wage theft and below-award payments in Australia.