Rafael Colobon, the source behind an ABC 7.30 investigation into alleged “sham contracting” at Myer, was fired on Friday.
His claims included workers being paid below the award rate, denied penalty rates and superannuation, and working without Work Cover insurance.
Mr Colobon gave an interview to 7.30 in which he was not identified, claiming unfair conditions at INCI Corp, which operates cleaning services for Myer around the country via its cleaning contractor Spotless.
Mr Colobon said he had been the target of unfair treatment since it was discovered he had approached 7.30 about his situation.
His payments from INCI immediately ceased, and last week he was given two written warnings and a demand to attend a meeting at the company’s office.
“They say I’m getting to work late, they’re saying I haven’t cleaned everything, or not at all,” he said.
“Lots of things that aren’t true at all.”
Mr Colobon, a Columbian IT student, has taken his fight to be reinstated to the Federal Court, where he filed documents today.
His employer and INCI Corp’s owner Mehmet Mesli declined an interview, but said Mr Colobon was sacked because he was turning up late and not doing his job properly.
He said he had no idea Mr Colobon was the whistleblower until it came up in their meeting last Friday.
“It was 100 per cent work performance,” Mr Mesli said.
“He is a trouble-maker.
“He acts like nobody can touch him because is a union member.”
Company backflips on employee arrangements
INCI Corp told 7.30 in October the company had about 60 cleaners working as contractors at nine Myer stores around Melbourne.
Mr Mesli said the cleaners had all asked to work on ABNs, and he would happily hire them as employees if they asked.
After Mr Colobon’s story was broadcast, a late-night text message was sent from INCI Corp to all staff.
The SMS asked contractors to bring in their tax file numbers and their passports if they were international students or people on short-term working visas and they were transferred to be employees of the subcontractor.
“Hi guys, as new company policy, please tomorrow bring your copy of your visa, superannuation information and tax file number,” the text from a INCI Corp supervisor read.
Australia’s Fair Work Ombudsman has launched an investigation into the claims aired by Mr Colobon, after completing another investigation into sham contracting among other Myer subcontractors last week.
Myer has rebuffed an offer from the ombudsman to enter a formal arrangement to ensure its workers were paid properly.
Yesterday, ombusdman Natalie James wrote a letter to Myer’s chief executive expressing concern about the treatment of cleaners employed by the retailers subcontractors.
Myer issued a statement to 7.30 saying: “Myer has immediately notified Spotless of this person’s concerns and Spotless has advised us that it is investigating the sub-contractor involved.”
Spotless did not return calls.