“I’m not talking about billing hours, actual hours of work were 80 to 120 hours. There were people that were substantially underpaid. Wouldn’t you call that a sweatshop?”
— Tony Sheldon, Labor senator and former union boss, asked PwC Australia partner Catherine Walsh during a Senate hearing on job security Dec. 8. Walsh was there to answer questions about a PwC “skills hub” in western Sydney, in which the Australian Financial Review reported used dozens of unqualified workers, on lower salaries and with less training and resources than their main office counterparts, to complete audit work from an unbranded office for large listed clients. It was reported that PwC staff at the “skills hub” were required to work more than 80 hours a week.
Walsh replied to Sheldon’s question: “I would not characterise what was occurring there in the way that you have, Senator.” She obviously has never worked an audit or tax busy season at PwC or any of the other Big 4 firms in the US.
- Working 80 to 120 hours a week. ☑
- Employees substantially underpaid. ☑
- White-collar sweatshop conditions. ☑
PwC denies operating ‘white-collar sweatshop’ in western Sydney [Australian Financial Review]
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