Around 700 casual workers were fired and promptly re-hired just before Australia Day to avoid penalty rates.
Casual staff of Mantle Group, which runs venues including the Brisbane Pig ‘n’ Whistle chain, Jimmy’s On The Mall and James Squire brewhouse, claim they were forced to sign new contracts just before Australia Day, per reports from the AFR, Courier-Mail and news.com.au.
Mantle Group drew heavy criticism for the move as workers had been set to receive public holiday penalty rates for the first time since previous workplace agreements were struck down in the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
Mantle Group has a history of using Howard government WorkChoices era “zombie” agreements that allow employers to legally avoid paying penalty rates and other entitlements.
Following action from United Workers Union, the FWC struck down two previous zombie agreements used by Mantle Group – first in June 2022 and again last month (after Mantle moved employees from one defunct zombie agreement to a separate one).