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One of Australia’s largest supermarket pizza manufacturers is accused of systemically underpaying vulnerable migrant workers in a case lodged in the Federal Court this morning. United Workers Union will pursue Melbourne pizza manufacturer Della Rosa for chronic underpayments in the vicinity of one million dollars and for compensation for breaching the workplace rights of predominately Indian and Afghani workers.

United Workers Union, the union for food manufacturing workers, alleges that 21 former workers were paid a flat rate by Della Rosa and denied overtime payments, shift loading, and public holiday rates. The pizzas made by these workers are supplied to Coles, Woolworths and IGA stores across Australia.

Susie Allison, United Workers Union Director of Food and Beverage says, “Today Della Rosa will answer to their workers who have had almost one million dollars stolen from them. Workers in the factory were paid a flat rate even if they were working a 12-hour overnight shift – some of our members are owed in the vicinity of $60,000 or more. Alongside the systemic underpayment of legal minimums uncovered in this case, the workers also alleged that they have been subject to racism and harassment.

“This serves as yet another example of wage theft as a business model. Workers need strong unions to ensure wage theft of this magnitude can never flourish in our workplaces, and strong laws to hold exploitative employers like Della Rosa to account. This is why the Daniel Andrews Government must expedite wage theft laws in Victoria. Together with Maurice Blackburn, 21 workers will take their case to the Federal Court today.”

Vikram Singh worked at Della Rosa for three years and believes he is owed tens of thousands of dollars. He says, “Like so many migrant workers I came to Australia to build a better life. Instead, I was exploited by Della Rosa and threatened with losing my job when I tried to speak out. I won’t be silent any longer and I am proud to see my case in the Federal Court today and to be seeking justice alongside my workmates.”