Bubble trouble: Wage investigators swoop on 15 Sharetea stores

Investigators from the underpayment watchdog have launched surprise inspections at 15 stores at Sharetia, a troubled bubble tea chain, after some staff members were paid wages below the legal minimum.

Many employees at Sharetea Australia are Mandarin-speakers here on Visa, factors that have left employees vulnerable to underpaid payments due to their lack of knowledge of workplace rights and fear of visa cancellation, among other cases.

Sharetea Australia is originally from Taiwan with the giant company behind the brand.Credit:Edwina Pickles

Inspectors from the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) checked salary records and spoke with employees at SHARETI stores in four states and territories, including Sydney and Melbourne, during unannounced visits on Wednesday, starting with employee reports and “compliance histories”. Had happened. , Franchisees and company-owned stores were scrutinized as part of a lengthy investigation.

Ombudsman, Sandra Parker, said, “Our inspectors are collecting information about SHARETI’s operations to determine whether there have been violations of workplace laws and to hold those responsible.”

“Contact us,” Parker said. “You can do this in your own language, anonymously and without fear of visas.”

The owner of a Sharetea store inspected Wednesday, who requested anonymity, said he was not surprised or concerned about the unannounced inspection. The inspector asked two employees working at the time several questions about their salaries and took photographs of the work roster and payslip.

Each store in the franchising network sets its own pay rates. “We don’t get a lot of guidelines or help from the head office,” he said. The store owner said he paid his employees according to Fair Work industry award rates and was “99 percent” confident that he was not violating wage laws.

Sydney Morning Herald And age previously disclosed that Sharetea settled five underpayment claims in 2019 and is facing lawsuits from the Taiwanese company that created the brand, alleging that the Australian franchisor is using its name illegally.

Sharetea Australia did not respond to repeated requests for comment. A public relations consultant who was earlier hired by the company is no longer working for it.

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