'Masterchef''s George Calombaris faces backlash for underpaying staff
"Masterchef Australia" judge, George Calombaris, finds himself in a spot of bother after reports that he underpaid his current and former staff by AUD7.83 million (about R77 million).
Reports are that the celebrity chef, who has come to South Africa several times on cooking shows, has been slapped with a AUD 200 000 fine after admitting to underpaying his 515 staff at his restaurants: Press Club and Gazi in Melbourne and Hellenic Republic restaurants in Kew, Williamstown and Brunswick.
He has struck a deal with Australia's Fair Work Ombudsman where he will pay the aforementioned fee (R1.9 million) and will also be making a series of public statements that promote compliance with the Fair Work Act.
But fans think he has escaped unscathed.
Taking to social media, they tore into the celebrity chef, and have urged for him to be axed from Masterchef.
There is now a petition from a former staff member, Orlaith Belfrage, who worked at the Hellenic restaurant. He is still owed AUD 2 000.
"I’ve been fighting to get back pay from my time working for Hellenic Republic for over two years. I sent emails, made phone calls and sought legal advice. Still Made Establishment, George Calombaris’s company, refused to pay me for all of my work. George should pay a serious price for this massive theft of workers’ wages," Belfrage wrote on the petition.
"He should be taken off "MasterChef". Channel Ten should stop making excuses for this serial wage thief."
At the time of publishing, more than 5 000 people had signed the petition to get Calombaris fired from the show.