Bistro Guillaume, owned and operated by French chef Guillaume Brahimi, is the latest high-profile restaurant to face accusations of underpayment.

A Fairfax Media investigation revealed excessive unpaid overtime not dissimilar Rockpool Dining Group’s recent troubles. According to the report, chefs at the premium venue work as many as 60 hours a week, lowering their hourly rate well below the minimum award. Payslips and rosters obtained by Fairfax from Bistro Guillaume’s Crown Melbourne location show the hourly rate to be as little as $17.50 an hour.

A statement from the business said it was unaware of the issue and had not intended to underpay their staff.

“This matter comes as a surprise to us and we have not received any complaints from our team,” reads the statement. “It would certainly have been given the highest priority and rectified.”

In June this year, another investigation by Fairfax Media found Rockpool had underpaid vulnerable staff members, including migrant employees, who worked up to 70 hours per week in “harsh conditions”. It was reported that, in extreme cases, skilled chefs had worked “up to 30 hours’ unpaid overtime”.

Rockpool Dining Group has since completed a reconciliation review of annualised salaries for eligible employees during the 2018 financial year and will backpay staff $1.6 million through ‘top-up’ payments. In a statement, the company said it is “keen to resolve” a range of “industry-wide” challenges, including disparate payroll systems and the complexity of multiple shifts, sites and rosters.

George Calombaris’ Made Establishment was at the center of a wages scandal, admitting to inadvertently underpaying 162 of its staff members a total of $2.6 million.

Image: Good Food

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