The swish Sydney Pink Salt restaurant, competing in the reality TV show My Restaurant Rules, has been forced to pay more than $8,000 in back wages following public outrage that they had tried to force their staff onto individual employment contracts.

” The restaurant in the seaside Sydney suburb of Manly came under investigation following a blow-up in front of the TV cameras, when the workers were told their pay had been cut and they would be placed on individual employment contracts known as Australian Workplace Agreements( AWAs).

The web helps pressure restaurant owners to do the right thing

The LHMU co-ordinated a national email and Google campaign targeting The Pink Salt.

It resulted in more than 1,200 emails to the restaurant, and 135,000 appearances of an LHMU sponsored ad on Google telling Australians about the on-camera blow-up over poor pay under AWAs.

Googles and blogs become restaurant staff’s allies

More than 2,000 people who ” googled” words like The Pink Salt or My Restaurant Rules clicked through to the LHMU web-site to find out more about how the My Restaurant Rules competitor was treating its workforce.

At least a dozen other websites and blogs around Australia carried stories about the LHMU campaign, and called on people to send off angry protests.

The web campaign – which was also highlighted in a number of newspapers across Australia – put a lot of pressure on the operators of The Pink Salt, Evan Hansimikali and Bella Serventare, to retreat, and treat their staff decently.

Staff now getting correct payments

NSW Industrial Relations Minister John Della Bosca said in a statement yesterday: ” The Pink Salt cooperated fully throughout the investigation and has made back-payments of $8,187 to 26 employees.

“The restaurant is now complying with NSW industrial laws, including paying staff the correct rates, issuing pay slips and maintaining proper employment records.”

Television reality show starkly demonstrates how wages will be cut under Fed Gvt proposals

Mr Della Bosca said the events at The Pink Salt proved the federal government’s proposed single industrial relations system, based on AWAs, would be used to lower wages and reduce working conditions.

“Staff at The Pink Salt discovered first hand the financial impact of AWAs on workers and their families,” Mr Della Bosca said.

Secretive individual employment contracts provide no effective way to fight for workplace rights

“Luckily for them, they were able to use the safety net of the NSW industrial system, including award wages and a well resourced compliance team.

“If the federal government has its way, workers throughout the country will be subject to secretive AWAs under the federal system, with no effective way of fighting for their entitlements.

“The federal system is based on conflict, with no safety net and an inferior record on strikes, lockouts and the speedy resolution of disputes.”

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