1,000 signatures reached
To: Fair Work Ombudsman
#WhatThePho? Wages stolen and staff sacked via WhatsApp at Hochi Mama
What Hospo Voice found at Hochi Mama & Straight Outta Saigon lifts the lid on some of the most shameful practices in hospitality.
Workers told Hospo Voice they were fired by being deleted from the staff WhatsApp group. This is way worse than being fired by text message. It’s a digitally-enabled public execution that spreads a sense of terror across the venue.
Staff also told Hospo Voice they were induced to solicit positive reviews from customers on venue review sites like TripAdvisor and this fuelled rivalry between them and made their work environment even more stressful.
Hospo Voice also uncovered rampant wage theft at these venues and more evidence that Australia’s booming hospitality industry is built on an underclass of exploited migrant workers. We’re particularly concerned about the wages and working conditions of back of house staff.
Hospo workers are fed up with bosses stealing our pay and treating us like dirt. We are speaking out and fighting back.
We demand the watchdog condemns this callous method of sacking workers and thoroughly investigate wage theft and exploitation of migrant workers at these venues.
Why is this important?
Hochi Mama is a Vietnamese restaurant at the top of Melbourne’s Chinatown. It’s also Melbourne’s number one Asian restaurant on the venue rating site, TripAdvisor.
I worked there as a bartender. And I was on a flat rate of $20 per hour, no penalty rates. In just four months I had over $3000 (including super) stolen from me.
Often, we felt we were treated like dirt. Hochi Mama had a staff WhatsApp group where we got our rosters, we swapped shifts and management would give us instructions about our jobs.
This was also how workers found out they’d been fired, by seeing we’d been deleted from the staff WhatsApp group. It happened to me. It happened to lots of other staff. In front of everyone.
Most bosses have the decency to actually TELL you that you'd been fired. Not these guys. And it left everyone feeling afraid and wondering: who’s next?
Migrant kitchen staff were treated even worse. They worked double shifts of 13-14 hours for a flat rate of $70 or $100, in cash. I even saw them sleeping on milk crates out the back of the restaurant between shifts.
It’s not okay for any worker to be treated like this, particularly in a wealthy country like ours.
All over this industry, we see migrant workers treated like an underclass. It’s just wrong. We need to stand together and demand fairness and respect for ALL hospo workers.
That’s the only way anything is ever going to change.