Sky News caught out on wages

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS:

Sky News has been exposed as the latest Australian company caught up in the ongoing issue of discrepancies in the payment of staff.

The news follows revelations this week that national car dealership AP Eagers was the latest company to have underpaid staff, in its case short-changing 6,200 employees a total of $4.5 million over seven years.

Just a few of the other high-profile organisations found to have underpaid staff have included Bunnings, Woolworths, the ABC, 7-Eleven, and restaurants owned by former TV celebrity chef George Calombaris.

But a Fair Work Ombudsman spokesman told The Bug that the circumstances surrounding Sky News were totally different to any of the other cases the employment watchdog had handled so far.

“We have previously started investigating firms after receiving complaints or tip-offs about underpayments, either deliberate or accidental,” the spokesperson said.

“But in the case of Sky News we received information from an internal whistleblower showing that the pay-TV network has been grossly overpaying a number of its employees.

“The whistleblower provided us with information that revealed the outrageous salaries being paid to the so-called ‘after dark’ presenters on Sky News.

“After an initial investigation we came to agree with the whistlelblower that these massive pay packets just aren’t justified.

“For instance the program featuring Alan Jones and Peta Credlin consists almost entirely of both co-hosts agreeing with what the other has just said and that’s usually some far right-wing tirade about climate change, the Labor Party, or the supposedly left-leaning ABC.

“It’s hard to tell them apart as any regular viewer would soon come to realise (main picture).

“In the case of Andrew Bolt, our forensic audit shows he usually gets in front of a camera and spouts pretty much the same crap he’s written in his columns for News Corp newspapers.

“If he introduces any new material it’s usually just some far right-wing tirade about climate change, the Labor Party, or the supposedly left-leaning ABC.

“The same goes for Chris Kenny who’s forever banging on about the topics he bangs on about in his columns in The Australian or he just falls back on some far right-wing tirade about climate change, the Labor Party, or the supposedly left-leaning ABC.

“So do Jones, Credlin, Bolt, and Kenny really deserve to be paid so much for that type of recycling? And just don’t get me started on Peter Gleeson.

“We’ve found through our audits and investigations that Sky News is guilty of grossly overpaying its after-dark hosts and we would like to take action in the Federal Court soon to seek an order directing them all to refund the money.

“We’re just having our lawyers look at the relevant statutes to see if that’s possible,” the spokesperson said.