The ABC has admitted underpaying casual employees after concerns were raised by the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) in December.
Awkwardly it comes after ABC shows such as Four Corners have targeted underpayments and staff conditions by companies such as 7-Eleven.
In a statement ABC said, “A detailed review is underway to confirm how penalties, allowances and loadings should have been calculated and applied over the past six years to about 2500 “flat-rate” casual staff.
“Current and former casual employees who might be affected are being notified and the ABC is reviewing its processes to address the issue for the future.
“The Fair Work Ombudsman has been notified and the ABC is liaising with them in relation to this situation.
“The Corporation is having discussions with the CPSU, which brought the matter to the attention of management, and intends to work with affected staff, the CPSU and the MEAA to address their concerns.
“This error should not have occurred, and the ABC apologises to any casual employee who has been underpaid. The ABC is actively working to remedy this for affected employees as soon as possible.”
The union’s ABC section secretary Sinddy Ealy told Guardian Australia the total unpaid wage amount would be “substantial” at a time “when the ABC can ill afford it”.
“The scale of this mistake over so many years would be unacceptable in any workplace, let alone at our national broadcaster,” she said.
“We’ve had concerns about the ABC’s over-reliance on and payment of casual workers for years. As recently as 2016 the CPSU was assured by the ABC that it was paying casual employers in accordance with the terms and conditions of the ABC staff agreement – clearly that is not the case.
“The people responsible for a mistake of this scale must be held accountable, particularly given their previous denials of any problem. All workers affected by this disgraceful situation should be provided with backpay, and many of these workers should also be given permanent jobs.”
Last year ABC management came under fire after ACTU secretary Sally McManus was initially declined access to speak to ABC members of the CPSU, but the matter was resolved and proceeded.