Workers accused of ‘sitting on their arse drinking p*ss’


FAR North restaurateurs have accused some workers of slacking off and "sitting on their arse and drinking p*ss" while receiving JobKeeper payments.

Popular Port Douglas restaurant On the Inlet was forced to temporarily shut last weekend when some staff "pulled the pin" at short notice, robbing the business of its crucial weekend trade.

Owner Geoff Parmenter said he believed a false sense of security provided by JobKeeper and JobSeeker government payments was partly to blame.

"There are some people on both those subsidies doubling their normal wage just for sitting on their arse and drinking p*ss," Mr Parmenter said.

"It has created a different way of thinking and some think they can do what they like.

"(Some) people have got the wrong attitude towards work and it's making life difficult."

Cairns restaurant owner Elie Sopas of Piatto Mediterrean said he was quick to pull his 15-strong staff into line regarding the government assistance on offer.


Elie Sopas from Piato restaurant at the Pier says some hospitality workers would rather claim JobKeeper and
Elie Sopas from Piato restaurant at the Pier says some hospitality workers would rather claim JobKeeper and "have a holiday" than go to work to earn an honest living. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN

He said some hospitality employees had the attitude of "why would I work for you when I am getting paid to do nothing?"

"Some of the kids want to get clever and have a nice holiday and get paid for it," he said.

"Well I said 'you will be sacked immediately and don't come back later and ask for a job, because you won't get it'.

"They are only getting paid (JobKeeper) because you are working through my company, through my books, and you should do your best."

Far North economist Mitch Williams said there were examples of employees taking advantage of the government assistance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with some refusing shifts.


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"There are certainly people who have taken the opportunity to have some time off, if you want to call it that, and happy to take the government's money," the Sidcor principal said.

Meanwhile, Mr Parmenter said he was scrambling to find a team in time for this weekend to capitalise on an increase in tourists.

"Since school holidays have finished, things have died off a bit and a lot of restaurants are only operating three to five days a week," he said.

"That just doesn't pay ... we need to open up and get a few (customers) in here."

The restaurant owners' gripes follow Prime Minister Scott Morrison's recent claim that there was a danger if the "dole" or JobSeeker was too high, as it would be a disincentive for people to work.

Originally published as Far North workers accused of 'sitting on their arse drinking p*ss'