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‘Plain and simple rip-off’: Perth fitness company accused of exploiting young jobhunters

Gareth Parker
Article image for ‘Plain and simple rip-off’: Perth fitness company accused of exploiting young jobhunters

A Perth fitness company has been accused of exploiting impressionable young customers to avoid hiring paid staff.

Bike Bar, in Applecross and Claremont, engages people to help out between classes with the promise of eventual employment, with duties including setting up equipment and cleaning.

The United Workers Union said it was a “rip-off” but the company says it’s being “100 per cent transparent”.

Jeff’s daughter works as an unpaid “roadie” and said the company are receiving a commercial benefit from the exchange because she is not an official employee.

“Basically it’s unpaid work, even though they are doing work that would normally be paid for,” he claimed to Gareth Parker.

“They are required to be there at least 20 minutes early, do all the setup, make sure all the guests are looked after, the toilets are clean, everything is wiped down, stay for the class and then once it’s done pack up, clean up and so forth.

“They call it an energy exchange, where you get to ride the bikes for free.”

Press PLAY to hear why Jeff believes his daughter is being exploited 

United Workers Union State Secretary Carolyn Smith said sadly it’s not an uncommon practice.

“We do see it across many, many industries,” she said.

“This just sounds like a plain and simple rip-off.”

Press PLAY to hear the United Workers Union’s response

Responding to the claims Bike Bar co-owner JD Dunn said he’s not exploiting roadies and is “heart broken” by the accusation.

“We would never put in place a program that wasn’t 100 per cent transparent, all of our guys new exactly what was happening,” he told 6PR Breakfast.

“This is a small group of younger staff, that we want to get on the payroll as quickly as possible

“The issue for us is we just don’t have jobs, we are a small business.”

He said staff work half an hour in exchange for a $32 ride class.

“These guys can’t afford to ride, a lot of these guys are uni students.”

Press PLAY to hear the company respond

(Photo: iStock by Getty Images.) 

Gareth Parker
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