Protesters from the Hospo Voice union have gathered outside Rockpool Dining Group-owned restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne, chanting the slogan “pay up sharks”.

Groups of people in Melbourne marched to Sake restaurant on Tuesday before gathering outside Rosetta and Rockpool in Southbank holding ‘take wage theft off the menu’ banners, with some protesters even dressed as sharks.

Labor senator Jess Walsh attended the Melbourne rally and said the industry is in the midst of  “a wage theft epidemic”.

In Sydney, protesters stood outside Rockpool Bar & Grill on Wednesday shouting “what’s outrageous? Stolen wages” in front of police.

The protests come off the back of recent allegations Rockpool Dining Group has underpaid workers $10 million.

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers and Hospo Voice are behind the accusations and claim staff time sheets were altered to 38 hours a week and hourly records were destroyed.

However, hospitality workers have taken to social media to rebut the Hospo Voice-created hashtag #rottenrockpool with their own – #thankyourockpool

Lume executive chef John Rivera spent four years at the group and said he was always paid fairly and on time.

Current Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney head chef Corey Costelloe said “Neil Perry has treated me with the utmost respect and given me opportunities I could only dream of”.

Neil Perry, who sold Rockpool to private equity firm Quadrant Private Equity in 2016, has yet to comment on the accusations but has reposted messages of support from chefs and members of the hospitality community on his Instagram account.

Image credit: Hospo Voice

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