KATOOMBA, Blue Mountain, NSW, Australia - The owner of the iconic Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath in the Blue Mountains, has hit back at claims that employees at its hotels are being underpaid, or exploited by being overcharged for accommodation and meals.
Claims have also been made staff are not being paid for overtime.
"We have a long history of hosting interns from multi-racial multi-cultural backgrounds. They are qualified, skilled and highly motivated to train and progress in hospitality," Escarpment Group Operations Manager Adam Holmes said Tuesday.
"All of our trainees apply for a training internship with the Hydro Majestic Hotel through government-approved internship agencies who conduct a skills audit and develop their training plan for them."
"Escarpment Group does not charge any fees for their training. Rather, we pay the trainee a full-time salary of at least $49,950 pa plus superannuation to undertake work-based training with us for an average of 12 months," Holmes said.
"We deny any allegations of underpayment or exploitation. All trainees are paid in accordance with the award and have a minimum salary of $49,950p.a plus superannuation. We do not deduct their rental and they receive their salary in full."
"The boarding fees are paid separately and the cost is at market rate of $67 per day (or $480 per week) for 3 meals and furnished accommodation with Internet, laundry, and linen. This is similar to the Blue Mountains International Hotel School which charges around $495pw," the Escarpment Group operations manager said.
"Most interns arrive in Australia without property rental history and understanding of rental requirements. As their host and as per our training agreement lodged with DOHA, we have the responsibility for their personal safety and welfare and, being in a location like the Blue Mountains, it is essential for trainees to be supported with a training package that provides full boarding so that they can focus on the purpose of their internship which is to undertake work-based training under a training visa for 12-13 months only."
"References to Escarpment Group churning through cheap labour from India, the Philippines and Vietnam is certainly not true," Holmes said. "These are skilled trainees who are well paid and we are proud of their achievements. They are not 'cheap labour.' We find this derogatory and offensive for the multi-racial staff at the Hydro Majestic, who are well paid professionals. As mentioned, all of our trainees are offered a minimum salary of $49,950 p.a plus superannuation and they pay market rates for full boarding, which they approve separately and there is no deduction."
"Most of our staff are paid full-time annualised wages which include 25% loading to cover overtime, which is monitored and managed by relevant department heads," the Escarpment Group statement said.
"We are a multicultural and ethical company which respects people's rights. We are disappointed to see this being portrayed differently. We have always assisted new migrants in this country and any references of exploitation are simply not true."