Worker warned off Mantle sites over pay claims

 

MILLIONAIRE pub baron Godfrey Mantle's hospitality empire has taken the extraordinary step of banning a hospitality worker from setting foot in its venues for handing out flyers on penalty rates.

Lawyers for Mantle Group Hospitality have written to long-time hospitality worker John Bordacs banning him from visiting its 19 venues and corporate buildings for "any purpose at all."

The venue ban list included the company's Pig 'N' Whistle pubs, Jimmy's on the Mall, The Charming Squire at South Bank and even its Sydney venues.

Sent by law firm Macpherson Kelley last month, Mr Bordacs has also been told the group would seek a court injunction should he "continue to endeavour to gain access to our client's premises."

"So, in the event that you enter any of our client's venues from this point in time onwards, you will be trespassing and will be immediately directed to leave and/or escorted from the premises," it says.

Godfrey Mantle of the Mantle Group in front of Jimmy's in the Mall which will undergo a multi-million facelift.
Godfrey Mantle of the Mantle Group in front of Jimmy's in the Mall which will undergo a multi-million facelift.

The legal letter came after Mr Bordacs visited several Mantle Group venues and distributed leaflets to staff explaining what penalty rates casuals were entitled to under the hospitality award.

He distributed the flyers after The Courier-Mail revealed casual staff at the venue were not being paid penalty rates for working on weekends, late nights or public holidays.

That is because they are hired under a so-called "zombie agreement" written 20 years ago, which makes no provision for penalty rates or overtime for casuals.

The long-expired agreement remains in place until it is formally terminated.

Mr Bordacs' flyer had urged staff to make contact to take a termination application to the Fair Work Commission. Such an application must be made by a current employee under the rules.

He said he had worked for Mantle Group in the 90s and at a restaurant on Mt Coot-tha up until a new 20-year council lease was issued to Mantle Group, replacing the existing long-time operator.

Mr Bordacs has also written to Brisbane City Council raising concerns it had awarded a lease to a company that did not pay casual staff penalty rates.

He told The Sunday Mail Mantle Group's use of an outdated workplace agreement gave it an unfair advantage over business competitors who were paying penalty rates as under the modern award.

"That's just so totally unfair and unethical," he said.

"It was a big surprise that an agreement could last that long."

In the legal letter to Mr Bordacs, Macpherson Kelley rejects the claim, saying staff were paid their full legal entitlements and to infer they were not was "grossly misleading."

"If our client's businesses do suffer any loss as a result of your conduct, our client will take action against you to recover those losses from you," the letter continues.

Mantle Group has previously rejected criticisms, saying all staff were paid correctly according to its certified agreement.

It declined to comment on the banning Mr Bordacs from its venues.

As revealed on couriermail.com.au, class action firm Adero Law is examining the validity of the agreement and whether salaried workers allegations of excessive overtime pushed them below the base rates of pay in the hospitality award. Mantle Group has denied the claim.


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