News, Culture & Society

Calls for George Calombaris to be SACKED from Masterchef

Masterchef fans are calling for judge George Calombaris to be sacked after he was fined for underpaying his restaurant workers by $7.8million.

The chef has been ordered to give the government $200,000 after underpaying 515 staff between 2011 and 2017, the Fair Work Commission announced on Thursday.

He has already paid back his staff but will have his business audited for the next three years to make sure the mistake doesn’t happen again. 

Masterchef fans are calling for judge George Calombaris (right on the show) to be sacked after he was fined for underpaying his restaurant workers by $7.8million

The chef (right with friend Nigella Lawson) has been ordered to pay the government $200,000 for underpaying 515 staff between 2011 and 2017, the Fair Work Commission announced

The chef (right with friend Nigella Lawson) has been ordered to pay the government $200,000 for underpaying 515 staff between 2011 and 2017, the Fair Work Commission announced

After the announcement, Masterchef viewers called for Calombaris to be axed from the hit Channel 10 show

After the announcement, Masterchef viewers called for Calombaris to be axed from the hit Channel 10 show

After the announcement, Masterchef viewers called for Calombaris to be axed from the hit Channel 10 show. 

One wrote: ‘He should be sacked… he talks about his staff as family and food is about love – integrity and honesty where are they ? Sack him!’

Another added: ‘MasterChef should sack him, he’s a repeat offender’. 

Unions NSW has started a petition to get Mr Calombaris fired.

The organisation wrote on Twitter: ‘Hey @masterchefau, we know you don’t support chefs ripping off their workers… so why is Calombaris on your payroll? It’s time to drop the MasterThief from MasterChef.’ 

But Network Ten stood by the chef. 

A spokesman said: ‘George and Made Establishment have reached an agreement with the Fair Work Ombudsman in relation to this matter. George has the support of Network Ten. We will not be making any further comment.’

After the announcement, Masterchef viewers called for Calombaris (left on the show) to be axed from the hit Channel 10 show

After the announcement, Masterchef viewers called for Calombaris (left on the show) to be axed from the hit Channel 10 show

The chef (centre on Masterchef) has already paid back his staff but will have his business audited for the next three years to make sure the mistake doesn't happen again

The chef (centre on Masterchef) has already paid back his staff but will have his business audited for the next three years to make sure the mistake doesn’t happen again

It comes after Australian Council of Trade Unions president Michele O’Neil said Mr Calombaris was getting off lightly.

‘This is systemic stealing from workers,’ she said told 3AW.

‘If you’re going to make your fortune and your name on the basis of a brand, then you’ve got to take responsibility for the workers in that brand.’ 

The scandal surrounding Mr Calombaris’ company, Made Establishment, first came to light in 2017. The star blamed the issue on ‘historically poor processes’.

However, following an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman, a number of breaches have been identified, including failure to pay split shift allowances, minimum award rates and penalty rates.

Made Establishment was also found to have failed to keep records for the number of hours salaried workers had completed, The Age reported.  

The deal with the Fair Work Ombudsman will see each of Mr Calombaris’ Melbourne venues audited for the next three years. 

His high profile restaurants include Gazi, The Press Club and Hellenic Republic. 

Natalie Tricarico and George CalombarisGeorge Calombaris

George Calombaris (pictured with Natalie Tricarico) said he was devastated by the error and vowed to repay everyone who had been effected when it first came to light in 2017

The company will have to introduce a new payroll system and workplace relations training will also be given to staff. 

He will also have to make a number of statements promoting compliance with the Fair Work Act. 

The Fair Work Ombudsman began investigating in 2015 after staff from Made Establishment complained.

Mr Calombaris and his then business partner George Sykiotis had spoken out at the time, claiming the issues were resolved.

It wasn’t until Radek Sali became involved in the business in 2016 that more discrepancies were discovered.

The company then reported itself to the Fair Work Ombudsman in 2017. At the time, Mr Calombaris blamed the issue on ‘historically poor processes’.

In an email sent to staff at the time,  Mr Calombaris said he was devastated by the error and vowed to repay everyone who had been affected.

‘I am devastated by what has happened and we have been working extremely hard to fix this,’ the email said.

‘I want to be clear that getting it right means ensuring that every single one of our team members is paid what they are entitled to under the industry award, and that any outstanding money owed to staff is rectified.’

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Mr Calombaris for comment. 

MADE’S STATEMENT 

‘The incorrect payments were identified by Made during a review in early 2017, following a change in ownership and management.

‘After an investigation, the FWO confirmed Made’s finding that employees had been incorrectly classified and underpaid due to incorrect processes and failures within its payroll and human resources functions’ 

  

FAIR WORK STATEMENT 

‘The court-enforceable undertaking commits Made Establishment to stringent measures to ensure that current and future employees across their restaurant group are paid correctly.

‘Made’s massive back-payment bill should serve as a warning to all employers that if they don’t get workplace compliance right from the beginning, they can spend years cleaning up the mess’

Mr Calombaris' company, Made Establishment, was found to have failed to keep records for the number of hours salaried workers had completed

Mr Calombaris’ company, Made Establishment, was found to have failed to keep records for the number of hours salaried workers had completed

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