Fast food giant Burger King caught underpaying staff, can’t hire migrant workers for a year

Long Lunch 30/08/2018
Photo: Getty.

Burger King has been banned from hiring migrant workers for a year after claims of underpaying staff.

A Burger King worker was paid a $39,500 annual salary, but was not paid for extra hours during her shifts.

The worker, after adding up the extra worked hours, found she was getting below the minimum wage.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) issued the ban after finding Burger King in breach of the Minimum Wage Act 1993.

Unite Union has welcomed the enforcement action and hopes the high-profile case would raise awareness of “wage theft”.

“Employers who steal from their employees need to be sent a very clear message. Banning them from employing vulnerable migrant workers is a good start,” Unite Union national secretary Gerard Hehir said.

If an employer is not able to guarantee the most basic minimum conditions allowed by law, they should not be able to hire vulnerable workers."

Migrant workers cannot be hired by the company until July 2019. However, it also means current migrant workers can’t have their work visas renewed.

 “We want the Government to change regulations so that [migrant workers] can get open work visas so they can more easily find other employment while the ban’s in place,” Mr Hehir told RadioLIVE.

 “It’s not fair that these workers who are the most vulnerable should be penalised.”

Burger King is owned by private equity firm Blackstone Group. Last year, the group's chief executive reportedly earned over $700 million.

Listen to the full interview with Gerard Hehir above.

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.