Katoomba Hotel Group Investigated for Labour Abuses
A 14-month long Sun Herald investigation into luxury Blue Mountains hotel group The Escarpment Group has uncovered alleged labour rights abuses against migrant workers. The abuses include wage theft, poor conditions and unpaid overtime.
The hotel group was found to be forcing workers on 407 training visas to pay $480 of their weekly wages back to the company for a bed in a shared room and meals that often weren’t given. The charge was automatically deducted from staff wages and is approximately $60/week more than renting an entire house in the area of the hotel. The investigation also found that employees were also not paid overtime, which in many cases added up to 3 hours a day, and were forced to sign timesheets recording 38 hours a week. The Sun Herald found that the majority of employees averaged 50 hours a week.
The Escarpment Group, now under investigation by the Department of Home Affairs and Fair Work, deny the allegations, claiming that they do not underpay or exploit any of their workers.
Migrant workers at the Group’s hotels reported to The Sun-Herald that they felt like “prisoners” and that they were “in a first world country working in third world [conditions]”. Profession Fels of the Migrant Workers Taskforce highlighted that the findings of the investigation highlight that underpayment of workers is “still pervasive” and that the Escarpment Group was an example of exploitation not being limited to foreign students and working holiday visa holders.