7-Eleven chairman Michael Smith is calling for a range of changes to current industry codes including modifications to the franchise code’s termination provisions and a review of student visa conditions.
The company says its reform proposals are designed to “provide greater protections for workers in the franchise industry, reduce the risk of workplace law compliance failures and provide more effective sanction options for such failures”.
7-Eleven is advocating for a modification to the termination provisions in the Franchising Code of Conduct and the Oil Code. 7-Eleven says this will “provide franchisors with a right to immediately terminate a franchise agreement in the case of ‘serious non-compliance with Commonwealth workplace laws or Fair Work instruments’”.
The convenience chain is also calling for an expansion of franchisor responsibilities within the applicable industry codes, and a review of the conditions attached to student visas to “ensure the current system is not inadvertently creating the ‘supply side’ of the worker exploitation equation”.
Mr Smith said: “It is important the company takes the lead in effecting positive change that will preserve and enhance the industry’s reputation by setting standards that meet communication expectations”.
“The proposals provide clarity of responsibilities, remedies and sanctions for everyone involved in the industry, and seek to significantly diminish the potential for companies and/or individuals to exploit workers,” Mr Smith said.
“Our advocacy is based on the workplace challenges 7-Eleven has confronted and the actions we have taken to improve compliance, governance and transparency across our store network.
“We are urging government and stakeholders in the franchise sector to support these reforms and I look forward to a positive and balanced debate that will lead to real and lasting solutions,” Mr Smith said.
7-Eleven gives update on wage repayment program
Last week 7-Eleven announced it had processed has approved 227 claims under its new internal wage repayment program launch two a half months ago.
The processed claims add to the existing 421 approved under the previous Fels Wage Fairness Panel. According to the convenience chain, more than $24 million in wage repayments have been approved to date.
7-Eleven announced in May its plans to close the Fels Wage Fairness Panel, headed by Professor Allan Fels, which was established after a Four Corner’s investigation uncovered systemic wage fraud throughout the convenience chain, and launch its own internal unit.
Earlier this month the convenience chain also appointed three new non-executive directors to its board.
The new appointees include Sandra Birkensleigh as non-executive director and chair of the audit and risk committee; Elizabeth Gaines as non-executive director and chair of the retail operations committee; and Dharmendra Chandran as non-executive director, chair of the people committee.
Any former or current franchisee staff who believe they have not been paid their full can submit their claim to the secretariat on 1800 619 802 or www.wagerepaymentprogram.com.au.