A former employee of wage thief / Masterchef judge George Calombaris has started a petition to get the bloke kicked off the reality cooking show.
This morning, The Age revealed that Calombaris has been ordered to pay a $200,000 “contrition payment” after an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman found that he and his MAdE Establishment group of companies underpaid 515 current and former employees in his restaurants (including Hellenic Republic, Gazi, and Jimmy Grants) by $7.83 million.
The Megaphone petition was started by Orlaith Belfrage, a former waiter at Hellenic Republic who worked at the restaurant for two years. She now works for digital union Hospo Voice, and revealed she is still owed $2,000.
“George should pay a serious price for this massive theft of workers’ wages.”
Belfrage said she’s been fighting to get back pay for over two years.
“I sent emails, made phone calls and sought legal advice. Still MAdE Establishment, George Calombaris’ company, refused to pay me for all of my work.”
How is it fair for him to steal over $7 million from workers [and] is only fined only $200,000?
A three percent fine is not enough. Wage theft is a business model and George Calombaris has built his career on it. And he continues to be heralded as the “nice guy” celebrity chef and a MasterChef judge.
He should be taken off MasterChef. Channel Ten should stop making excuses for this serial wage thief.
At the time of writing, the petition has attracted just over 6,500 signatures.
“Ten network; it’s George’s turn to face elimination,” the petition concluded.
In a statement on Thursday, Network 10 said it was standing by its celebrity chef.
“George and MAdE Establishment have reached an agreement with the Fair Work Ombudsman in relation to this matter. George has the support of Network 10. We will not be making any further comment,” a spokesperson told SBS.