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Ichi Ni Nana wage theft allegations

Popular Melbourne restaurant Ichi Ni Nana has been drawn into the wages theft scandals.

The restaurant and bar complex has been accused by former staff of underpaying employees, depriving them of award wages and penalty rates and costing workers thousands of dollars.

The complaint filed by United Voice to the Fair Work Ombudsman has requested the watchdog investigate the company that owns Fitzroy’s Ichi Ni Nana over claims casual staff were paid just $18 an hour when they should have been paid $24.41 an hour, which was then the award rate for a casual level-two hospitality worker.

The other allegation is that Asian migrant workers routinely received lower wages than their Australian and European counterparts.

 Ichi Group’s 127 Brunswick Street complex is run by well-known Melbourne restaurateurs Paul Adamo and Vince Sofo. They opened it in late 2015.

The space in the venue takes in the south-east Asian-inspired Village People Hawker Food Hall and Upside Rooftop Bar, as well as the Japanese eatery Ichi Ni Nana. Workers are alleged to have been underpaid at all three venues.

Guardian Australia made repeated calls to the venue and sent texts and emails. The Ichi Group did not respond.

Popular Melbourne cafes, and the high-end restaurants Vue De Monde and Rockpool have also been accused of wages theft. They have denied the claims.

A former worker who left the company within the past few months told The Guardian he had been paid $18 an hour, often cash-in-hand, while employed as a casual. He did not receive penalty rates.

“When I worked there it was such a good team. Everybody worked really hard for the company,” said the worker told Guardian Australia.

“[But] the company, they don’t appreciate the people who work for them. They tried to make it a big family, that’s what the owners tell us ... but they are not really taking care of the staff.”

The worker did not want to go public due to concerns that speaking out could threaten his visa status.


6th July 2018