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Café Workers Take To The Streets To Protest Alleged Underpayments

Café workers take to the streets to protest alleged underpayments

Young café workers have taken to the streets to protest alleged underpayments at Melbourne’s Café Barry.

The workers claim the café owners have failed to pay proper minimum wages, in addition to penalties and overtime rates.

They also claim management effectively fired anyone who complained about the wage theft.

The loud protest outside the venue at Northcote included members of the United Voice Union’s Young Workers Centre, in addition to several employees sacked after complaining about their working conditions.

Café Barry in the Melbourne suburb or Northcote is accused of underpaying workers.

Never paid penalties

Staff at Barry claim they received a flat rate of $18 an hour, in addition to no penalty rates for weekend work and public holidays.

The award rate for casual staff is $24.41 for weekdays, and also $29.30 for weekends.

In addition, workers say management only allowed unlawfully short 15-minute breaks.

Barry Café is owned and operated by Steve and Anne Petroulias, who are brother and sister.

The pair refused to meet with staff following individual employees sending emails inquiring about working conditions.

As a result, the Petroulias’ immediately cancelled the upcoming shifts of those who emailed – effectively firing them.

Texts from Café Barry management to a waitress who complained about her working conditions.

Adverse action

Miles Heffernan, Director of Litigation at IR Claims, says it’s unlawful to take adverse action against employees who inquire about their working conditions.

“It is a contravention of a worker’s general protections if they are sacked or punished for asking about their pay or hours of work,” he said.

“It is unlawful for an employer to take adverse action against an employee for exercising a workplace right.”




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