29 May 2019

Bernard Keane has tabulated the numbers [$] to demonstrate that wage theft is now an epidemic in Australia: “Crikey has compiled the results of all FWO raids and investigations since the start of 2018, which have covered not merely the wage theft hotspots of hospitality, personal services, fast food and retail, but textiles, agriculture, construction and manufacturing. The results are disturbing: a total of 4975 businesses have been investigated since the start of 2018 and more than 27% were found to be underpaying employees.” The new industrial relations minister, Christian Porter, has flagged he will focus on “law enforcement aspects” of the portfolio — but I suspect that punishing wage thieves and cracking down on the $6 billion superannuation rip-off are not what he has in mind. Instead, expect to see more politically motivated police attacks on trade unions.