Hospo Voice

Stolen wages at the Titanic Restaurant

September 20, 2021

HOW WE’RE FIGHTING BACK: 5 steps to recover stolen wages

A couple of weeks ago, we launched a campaign against the Titanic Restaurant in Williamstown. Workers came to us saying they always had to chase up their pay. It was late every week and some hospo workers and performers had been waiting for payment from their April shifts.  

Here’s what workers have done so far to fight for their stolen wages.

Step 1: We got the background story

The Titanic Restaurant in Williamstown is a popular theatre restaurant. It often has a waiting list booked out weeks in advance. Although it’s closed at the moment because of COVID-19 restrictions, they’re taking bookings for later in the year.

The venue promises a voyage you’ll never forget. “A night of dining, dancing and… disaster”.

Getting paid has certainly been disastrous for the employees who work there. They regularly get paid late and some workers haven’t been paid for months.

They’ve also recently discovered the Titanic Restaurant has not paid their superannuation either. Despite texting and emailing their employer, they have received no response.

When these employees came to us, they told us they loved their job. They are a close team and want to continue working there.

They just want to be paid for their work and feel respected.

Step 2: The workers came together

After months of chasing invoices, many of the workers realised they were in the same situation. They spoke out about their issues on Fair Plate and joined Hospo Voice.

They compiled all of their super statements, pay slips, invoices, email and text exchanges, and created a google folder with everyone’s documents and a table outlining who’s owed what.

At Hospo Voice, we’ve been able to use emails and text messages (many of which have gone unanswered) as further evidence.

Have you experienced wage theft too?

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Use union tools and support to get back to money you’re owed!

Step 3: They sent a group letter of demand

Using the Hospo Voice template letter in Mobilise or Member Hub, the Titanic Restaurant workers sent a group letter of demand. They told their boss, Louis Nguyen, how much he owed each of them.

They gave him a deadline to respond and told him what further action they will take if he didn’t meet the deadline.

Step 4: They spoke out in the media

The Titanic Theatre Restaurant employees then told their story to ABC News, which put more pressure on the employer and shows how serious they are.

This type of media article shines the light on how common superannuation and wage theft are.

Step 5: They launched a petition and social media campaign

Next step was to launch a petition which thousands of community members and hospitality workers have signed. Many of them are local to Williamstown and the surrounding areas.

A Hospo Voice social media campaign backed this up to help broadcast their petition and force Louis to do the right thing.

What’s next?

We’ve given the employer until 22nd September to respond. So far, he has paid back one worker in full and one in part. The campaign is ongoing.

Some employers deliberately try to prolong the process as they count on workers giving up. Not us though! We are it for the long haul and will keep persisting and applying pressure until everyone receives the money they’re owed.

We’re turning up the pressure this week by fundraising to cover Williamstown in posters to ensure locals know what’s going on. If you’d like to show your support, chip in here.

We want to put up 100 of these bad boys in the Williamstown area.

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