The former company director and operations manager of Starlink entities, which employed workers for several stores, have been fined $188,100 for ripping off trolley collectors, the Fair Work Ombudsman says.
One migrant employee from India was underpaid by almost $90,000.
The ombudsman said trolley collectors were some of Australia’s most vulnerable and exploited workers.
“Many are young, do not have an education level beyond year 10, come from non-English speaking countries and have physical or other disabilities,” Ombudsman Natalie James said on Thursday.
James also warned supermarket operators they can’t “contract out” their responsibility to workers by using subcontractors.
“The community and the law can hold them to account if it turns out they are benefiting from black-market labour,” she said.
The Starlink case ends more than five years of action by the ombudsman to support the trolley collectors.
Coles has been making changes to its collection services and now employs its own workers at more than 520 stores across Australia.
Any Coles trolley collector concerned about remuneration can call the company’s reporting hotline on 1800 507 877.
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