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Attorney-General aims to stop ‘endemic’ wage theft as Coles caught cheating workers

The federal Attorney-General is considering forcing businesses that commit wage theft to name and shame themselves under new reforms.

Businesses which fail to prevent wage underpayment could be banned from hiring migrant workers for a period of time, and their company directors disqualified from holding office.

It has today been revealed that Coles has underpaid staff $20 million over a six-year period, months after its competitor, Woolworths, admitted to $300 million in underpayments.

Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter tells Deborah Knight he will introduce legislation to criminalise the worst cases of wage theft.

“These organisations, large sophisticated Australian organisations, where wage underpayment seems to have been endemic.

“I don’t think it’s intentional but it’s hopeless, it’s not good enough!”

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Image: Getty/Tracey Nearmy