An Australian law firm is planning a $100 million class action against four companies it claims are underpaying people to spruik charities and products in shopping centres, on the streets and door-to-door, ABC News.
Chamberlains Law Firm and the National Union of Workers (NUW) said the workers are employed as contractors by the companies and are paid as little as $3 an hour.
“These are people in Bourke Street mall and Rundle mall,” the NUW’s Godfrey Moase said.
“It is not right that someone gets paid just $3 to $4 an hour. That is terrible.
“They end up in a job where they are working 60 to 70 hours a week and pulling down just a few hundred bucks.”
The minimum wage is $18 an hour, and the union will argue the companies breached the Fair Work Act.
The companies to be targeted in the lawsuit are Aida Sales and Marketing, Credico Australia, Global Interactive Group (GIG) and PCA Group, whose clients have included Foxtel, Optus, Telstra, AGL, Alinta energy, Minter Ellison Lawyers and the Red Cross.
In a statement, Red Cross CEO Judy Slatyer said the organisation was concerned by the allegations raised by the union and said their contracts require their employees to be paid at least minimum wage.
“We are deeply sorry to hear these stories and believe nobody should be subjected to such treatment,” Ms Slatyer said.
“We value the people who fundraise for us … we have always insisted on legal and appropriate labour practices, including for contractors.
Adam Dubrowa / FEMA / Wikipedia / PD