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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 28 April 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 28 APRIL 2018 15 FOOD FOR THOUGHT Greek-owned Melbourne cafe accused of underpaying staff Former staff of Barry’s cafe in Northcote claim they were underpaid by at least five dollars an hour, and after raising the matter with management, they were let go F ormer staff of Northcote's Barry cafe have claimed they were underpaid by their employers, brother and sister Steve and Anne Petroulias, by at least five dollars per hour. After attempting to raise the matter with the owners via email on behalf of nine staff, with the request they be paid the award rate, former employee Anna Langford told the ABC that she had her shifts cancelled indefinitely. According to the ABC, which sighted Ms Langford's payslip, the hourly rate shows $18.00 an hour, including weekends – lower than the award rate to which Ms Langford is entitled, which is $24.41 an hour for weekday shifts, and $29.30 for weekends. Once the staff realised they were being underpaid, they reportedly approached the cafe owners to discuss the matter as a group, but their attempts were rejected, with the owners insisting the staff talk to them individually. "When we were on shift they started to interrogate us, asking questions like 'who's the ringleader?'" Ms Langford said. She continued to push for before I even had a chance to process what I was getting into I started getting clientele from word of mouth." Today, at 40, with her hair slowly growing back, Julie is happy and prouder of herself than she's ever been. "I have no children, but I do have a cat!" she enthuses. "And my cupcakes. "I was in a bad place and wanted to keep my mind occupied, and you know something? it worked! It really worked." After the first reviews on the flavour, Julie also decided to enrol at Bake Boss, Australia's leading cake decorating and baking supplies company. "I really wanted to further my knowledge and learn how to decorate the cupcakes, how to do kids' cupcakes, and to make flowers and buttercream; create as many designs as I could possibly put on a cake without compromising the quality and taste." And so she did, discovering that she had a natural talent for it. With her combined knowledge she started creating different looks for her cakes and cupcakes while venturing into creating themed and animated children's cakes and cupcakes upon request. Apart from the regular flavours on her menu, Julie works around dietary requirements offering gluten-free and dairyfree baked goods. Some of her best and most original sellers are the sticky date sensation, Baileys bliss, cappuccino crave, lemon zing, Tim Tam temptation, Malteser couture, crunchy honeycomb, passionfruit swirl, and strawberry entice; the list is so long! "Of course I do classic cupcake flavours too, like red velvet and the vanilla, cacao and regular buttercream top ones; there's well over 30 different cupcakes on my menu! "The good thing is I'm cancer Julie Agas at the beginning of her treatment when she first cut her hair. PHOTO: SUPPLIED free now. I still do my PET scans every month but I can work like any other person, so be prepared for many more." To find out more about Julie's addictive cupcakes visit Facebook @ weareaddicted2cupcakes or call Julie on 0401 723 983. a group meeting, but was told via text by Mr Patroulias that "Everyone can talk to me separately. It's the only way we can talk." claiming that "Each one is a separate agreement. We can discuss separately," which then saw the staff seek assistance elsewhere. "We saw that we weren't going to get anywhere, so we got in touch with the Young Workers Centre and told them what was going on," Ms Langford said. "They helped us draft an email to our bosses, signed by nine of us," which they sent last Friday. Mr Petroulias responded to the email that same day with the following: "Hi Anna, Just to let you know that you and the other staff agreed each and every one of you the rate that you would be paid. "On top of that you all had free meals free unlimited coffees, and paid during your meal break. You came and went when ever you felt like and you begged us to come back after seven months away. "On top of that you asked us to employ your sister as well. If you weren't satisfied with your pay why all that." Ms Langford said that within minutes she received a text message from Ms Patroulias: "Hi Anna. I just want to let you know that your shift for tomorrow has been canceled (sic). We let you know if we need you again. Thank you." With two other workers who signed the letter also losing their shifts, Mr Petroulias claimed the cancellations were due to having too many staff. "They are casuals, they come whenever they went (want) to, six months later, one will take a holiday. That's how casual is," he said - a sentiment, former employee Hannah Paletu'a says isn't accurate, saying they were "always short-staffed". Mr Petroulias said that he was not aware that he was underpaying his staff. "I had a look on Google, and it said the average rate was $15 to $17 an hour, or something like that. And I was under the impression that $18 was the minimum rate," he told the ABC. "Now that I've checked it, it's $18.51 or something." The minimum hourly rate for full-time staff is in fact $18.51, but on the award for staff that are casual the rate is $23.51. "If there is a mistake, I will correct it," Mr Petroulias said. "I presumed that when they accepted the job, they were happy with what they were getting." In response to the matter, staff and United Voice union members staged a protest outside the Northcote cafe on Monday. "We started off reasonably requesting a meeting, we didn't even mention backpay, but they've reacted really badly and just shut us down," said Ms Langford. "All we asked for was the minimum award rate." The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is now investigating alleged underpayment by Barry cafe. Barry is not the first Melbourne hospitality venue to be investigated for underpaying staff. In 2017 it came to light that George Calombaris' Made Establishment underpaid 200 staff a total of $2.6 million, but is yet to meet the FWO deadline or compensate staff.
21 April 2018
5 May 2018