Following the ensuing backlash of 20-year-old ex-Grill’d employee Kahlani Pyrah’s legal action against the restaurant chain over a pay dispute, Grill’d managing director Simon Crowe has broken the company’s social media silence with a statement.
Grill’d acknowledged the swelling scandal surrounding the hourly rates (and lack of penalty rates) received by some of the company’s employees, as alleged by Pyrah this week.
“This week Grill’d has been scrutinised over certain workplace agreements that were independently certified and approved by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission in 2005. Many of the claims publicised have been factually incorrect. To be clear, no one is questioning the legality of our agreements and our agreements are assessed annually to ensure ongoing legal compliance.”
The statement continues by announcing renegotiated workplace agreements, that will be “effective immediately”.
“We have listened. As such, we are announcing our intent to renegotiate our workplace agreement with our employees, effective immediately. This change was already in our plans this financial year and as such we are now bringing this announcement forward. We want to ensure that the people that work at Grill’d today have their voices heard, rather than those that have gone before them.”
Pyrah’s dispute with Grill’d originated over her contract—a musty remnant of the bygone WorkChoices era arrangement—which allowed an hourly rate of $17.52, with no weekend or penalty rates, slip through the cracks.
The restaurant’s certified agreement from 2005, not operating in all of its stores, would pay 16-year-olds $9.50 per hour, 18-year-olds $13 per hour, and adults $17.52 per hour, under the proviso of a compulsory “traineeship” agreement.
Pyrah claimed that her speaking-out over low hourly rates led to her termination at the Grill’d store in Camberwell. In a petition to reinstate her employment—now garnering 22,000 signatures and counting—Pyrah said, “I told my managers at Grill’d we were sick of being paid below the minimum wage. 11 days later I was sacked.“
You can read Grill’d’s full statement on the pay scandal over here.
And if you’re concerned that your boss is taking you for a ride, information on industry award rates can be found on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.