The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) recently pursued a significant case involving underpaid workers, highlighting the importance of upholding workers’ rights and fair wages. Triggered by an anonymous tip-off, the FWO investigation discovered shocking flat rates as low as $7 an hour for 25 cleaners. These workers were collectively underpaid by nearly $100,000, leading to penalties exceeding $330,000 for the involved cleaning companies. Quayclean and subcontractor located in Melbourne, Ranvel were fined $174,420 and $114,480 respectively. In addition, the Director of Quayclean was fined $15,552 and a director of another subcontractor was fined $28,512.
The Federal Circuit and Family Court took action against the principal contractor, a sub-contractor, and two company directors associated with the cleaning operations at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium between February and June 2017. A total of $332,964 in fines was imposed for violating the minimum wage standards outlined in the Cleaning Services Award 2010.
The case revealed the challenges faced by low-paid, often migrant, cleaning sector employees. The penalties emphasize the FWO’s commitment to safeguarding workers’ rights and holding companies accountable. Judge Caroline Kirton stressed the need to deter similar conduct within the cleaning industry, ensuring fairness prevails. Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Kristen Hannah reiterated the importance of addressing worker exploitation, particularly in high-risk industries such as cleaning, to protect the rights of vulnerable employees.
Ultimately, this case sheds light on the imperative of fair treatment and just compensation for all workers, underscoring the ongoing efforts to prevent exploitative practices in the workplace.