Every restaurateur has most likely been keeping a close eye on the number of our operators around the country that are being attacked in the media for non-compliance with labour laws. This trial by media is shocking, to say the least.
I note that the celebrity chefs are being targeted by media outlets that are competitors to those for whom they work. This is not good for any of us. The reputation of our industry is being eroded.
The restaurant and catering industry must promote all the great opportunities it provides. We employ some 550,000 people and provide opportunities to those working in jobs that many would not get in any other industry. Many would not want to work in any other industry.
While none of us would defend non-compliance, it has to be said that in any industry, as you work up the ranks, you work more than 38 hours, sometimes without expecting additional pay. This is just a fact. Yet, in the restaurant business, because some of our operators have a very high profile, this practice makes the front page—that is not fair!
Yes, we have a lot of people working up the ranks. That is because we are the largest employment-growth sector in the economy. This is not going to stop: the industry is projected to add 84,300 jobs by 2020. Many of these new employees will aspire to careers as supervisors or managers.
Mark Scanlan, President
Restaurant & Catering Australia