Market darling turned embattled franchisor Domino’s Pizza has become the latest stalwart in the scandal-plagued sector to be hit with a class action lawsuit.
Boutique law firm Phi Finney McDonald has launched Federal Court proceedings against the fast-food giant, alleging franchisees underpaid thousands of workers at its direction.
A statement of claim filed with the Court on Monday claims Domino’s misled or deceived franchisees, by telling them to pay workers under outdated enterprise agreements for almost five years.
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) terminated more than 20 outdated Domino’s enterprise agreements in late 2017, thrusting thousands of workers onto better-paying Award conditions.
But, Phi Finney McDonald alleges workers were shortchanged, as they were paid under the so-called ‘zombie agreements’ until the FWC’s order came into effect last January.
“Most delivery drivers and in-store workers in Australia were paid less than they should have been paid,” the firm said on its class action website.
The class action seeks the difference between the wages paid under the “inapplicable employment agreements” and relevant Award wages.
Domino’s told investors on Tuesday morning it will defend against the proceedings, but offered no comment on its prospective legal strategy.
“Domino’s is of the view that those industrial agreements applied to its franchisees at all relevant times,” the company said in a statement.
“Domino’s takes the proper payment of its team members seriously. Any formal proceedings received will be reviewed and actioned in the ordinary course.”
Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU) secretary Josh Cullinan, who was involved in investigating the original case to terminate the agreements, believes over 10,000 workers were underpaid.
“The scale of the Domino’s misconduct is unprecedented, and we believe that tens of thousands of workers were never paid for casual loading, penalty rates, travel costs and laundry allowances,” he said in a statement circulated yesterday.
“Domino’s CEO Don Meij took home a multi-million dollar pay packet every year, while drivers and store employees never saw a lot of the money they earned. Some workers are owed tens of thousands of dollars,” Cullinan added.