If you’re one of the lucky ones able to afford a plate of snail snot as a entree, followed by roasted canary eyeballs with a cobra fang jus, then you must get paid a lot more than the poor bastards who were employed by acclaimed international Chef Heston Blumenthal.
Heston has been on a very good wicket for the last 5 years at his Dinner by Heston restaurant .. at Crown Casino, he was also given an interest free loan of $750,000 by Crown.
Heston is also reputed to have a personal fortune estimated to be $ 53 million, so it’s not like he has the arse out of his trousers, he’s not travelling down that well known dusty road his employees have had to endure over the years.
Dinner by Heston has just been placed into liquidation following a series of allegations about systematic wage theft by the Age newspaper.
Fair Work Australia was also in the early stages of investigating the alleged wage theft estimated to rival George Calombaris in the wage theft stakes, the whisper around the Paris end Broadmeadows is that Heston is about to come up $3 million light.
Heston was able to charge customers in the vicinity of $ 180 for the plate of snot, if you had to inquire about the cost of the roasted canary eyeballs then you shouldn’t be eating there.
So, when you take into account Heston’s personal fortune, his successful restaurants overseas and the largess of Crown Casino of $750,000 interest free loan, you wonder why he paid his employees the equivalent of slave wages.
You don’t have to be as smart as a builders labourer to know that paying an experienced chef $ 15 per hour does not cut the mustard or snot even, that’s 3rd world wages, and I believe Heston and his cohorts should be spending a long time in porridge palace.
The accountants and the managers of this organisation should also be held equally responsible. They must have known and should have known about the wholesale theft of workers’ money yet they went home to their families every night knowing they were complicit in a major crime.
We have to go back to the Liberal party and to John Howard’s workchoices, for the predicament workers and their unions now find themselves in. As a former union official in this industry for 15 years the industry was never involved in such criminal activities nor did it have the criminal elements it has now.
Yet we give these wage criminals 5 star status appearing on every cooking programme including master theft and treat them like some kind of royalty. They don’t deserve it . They really don’t.
Fair Work Australia also have a lot to answer for – failing to act in this instance and allowing the company to go into liquidation before wages could be recovered and allowing the wages theft creep to leave this country
It can only get worse as employers are emboldened to continue to engage in this action due to inaction by both the government and the workers’ peak body the ACTU.