Restaurant Slammed For Using GoFundMe To Pay Unpaid Staff

A crowdfunding page set up by restaurant owners to help pay their employees and suppliers has been slammed by trade unions.

The owners of Perth's Co-Op Dining restaurant blamed  "economic change" in Western Australia and a "greedy landlord" for their establishment closing, in a statement posted on the GoFundMe crowdfunding page they started online.

The pair set a $5000 goal for the campaign, saying they would use the money to pay "our devoted staff and supportive suppliers".

After launching four days ago, the page has managed to raise just over $1,100.

"We have done our best to pay what we can before the negotiations failed. We have exhausted all solutions. We will be back," the owners wrote.

Photo: Co-Op Dining GoFundMe.

The small number of responses to the GoFundMe page have been positive, sending encouraging messages to the owners, but one message posted posted criticism of the owners' approach.

"You are an employer and asking for donations to pay your staff? Maybe look at the fundraisers on here for children with cancer and explain why you deserve donations more than them," the comment said.

The United Voice WA trade union called out Co-Op Dining in a statement saying the restaurant had shown "no consideration to staff".

"Shame on business owners who think they can get away without paying their staff," United Voice WA Secretary Carolyn Smith said.

"Workers shouldn't have to wait and rely on the generosity of the community to be paid for their work," Smith continued.

10 daily has reached out to the restaurant owners for comment.

Stock image. Photo: Getty

The Western Australian Government launched an inquiry into wage theft earlier this year, with the Minister for Industrial relations, Bill Johnston, saying workers "should not be denied their legal pay and entitlements through employers engaging in wage theft."

Submissions to the inquiry closed in March and United Voice WA made a public submission with 23 recommendations for policy reform to protect the rights of workers.

Smith believes the $5000 GoFundMe goal is unrealistic and will not be enough to pay both staff and suppliers.

"Business owners have a duty to pay workers and if you can't afford to pay your workers, then you shouldn't have a business," she said.