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Wage Theft in South Australia is an epidemic. The McKell Institute estimates that wage theft is costing South Australian workers $500 million a year.
The Working Women’s Centre SA recovered over $500,000 for workers in just one financial year. While this is a great achievement, it is only a fraction of what is owed to hard working South Australians. We know, more than most, that wage theft is hitting women and migrant workers the hardest.
Wage theft extends to the non-payment of base wages, penalty rates, superannuation, loadings, and the non-payment of entitlements that workers should be receiving by law. In some sectors of the economy, wage theft has transitioned from a fringe activity to a business model.
This is an issue for workers and the government. In fact, the South Australian Parliamentary Wage Theft Interim Report confirms what we already knew: wage theft is rife in South Australia and it affects the most vulnerable workers in our community.
We gave evidence to the Wage Theft Inquiry about one of our clients who was only paid $14 an hour. How can you live on $14 an hour? You can’t. It isn’t a living wage.
In response to the Interim Report, we are holding a community discussion about the prevalence of wage theft to kick start South Australia’s response to this issue.
There are big questions at hand:
• Should we follow Victoria’s lead and criminalise wage theft?
• Is our industrial system is too complex?
• How does wage theft impact on working women? And is this impact due to a common business model?
• What are trade unions doing about this issue? And how do we campaign for a living wage?
We are thrilled to host Irene Pnevmatikos MLC, Edward Cavanough from the McKell Institute and Angas Story from SA Unions to tackle those issues and more.
We acknowledge that this event will streamed from Kaurna land and we pay our respect to the traditional custodians of the land past, present, and emerging. Sovereignty was never ceded