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04 Feb 2021 Wage Theft
This article was published by ABC News 4th Feb 2021.
Read the full article on the ABC’s website here
Protesters have rallied outside of a cafe where a young woman was allegedly assaulted last week.
Footage of the incident, at Fun Tea in Adelaide’s CBD, went viral on social media and has sparked a conversation about alleged wage theft among the international student community.
It showed a verbal dispute between a man and a woman who makes claims about wage theft.
The man can be heard denying the claims.
Today, protesters claimed wage theft was a problem in businesses in Adelaide’s Chinatown district.
Jackie Chen, from the SA Labour Info Hub, said many people working within the district were paid less than $15 an hour, and some as low as $5 an hour.
“Especially with the background of workers, international students, they are not fluent in English and they don’t know how to find support,” he said.
“We urge the Australian Government to look into these issues.
“We must sort this out, it’s a disaster. It’s been going on for decades.”
He has organised another rally for Saturday to be held in Chinatown.
Police yesterday confirmed a man had been arrested and charged with assault over the incident at the cafe.
He is expected to front court in April.
In a statement today, the Working Women’s Centre said it was representing the woman and another female worker at the store.
It claims the confrontation related to allegations of underpayment.
A notice, taped to the door of Fun Tea yesterday, acknowledged “a complaint about the employee’s pay or rates of pay” but said the claim was unrelated to the assault.
The notice on the business stated that the “incident arose following a previous verbal argument which the female employee had had with the customer”.
“The management and owners of Fun Tea deplore violence of any sort, and have zero tolerance for assaults or violence.”
However, the Women’s Working Centre rejected the claim the assault was not connected to pay rates.
“Our client entirely rejects any assertion that the assault was not in relation to a complaint about her pay,” the statement reads.
“This is clear from the video.
SafeWork SA is investigating the incident and the matter has been referred to the Fair Work Ombudsman.