7-Eleven terminates two franchise agreements

7-Eleven Australia has terminated two franchise agreements and taken over the stores after investigations by the convenience store chain found the franchisee to be underpaying staff.

A spokesperson confirmed to C&I Week the franchisee operated two 7-Eleven stores, however, said the matter was not in relation to legal action launched by Fair Work last week against a 7-Eleven operator of two stores that had underpaid 21 employees more than $31,000.

“This is a consequence of investigations by a team appointed by 7-Eleven, which is part of the enhanced compliance government oversight and reporting pieces that we have put into place to deal with breaches in workplace rights and obligations,” the spokesperson said.

“It’s a clear demonstration to 7-Eleven’s commitment to ensure that it is doing everything it can to stamp out practices whereby workplace rights aren’t met.”

7-Eleven interim CEO Bob Baily said the decision to terminate the agreements was “not taken lightly”.

“In this instance, the decision to terminate was taken after an extensive investigation by a team of professionals engaged by 7-Eleven to review a range of materials relating to the operation of the particular stores in question.

“Effective today [Tuesday], 7-Eleven has taken operational control of the stores concerned and existing staff will be offered on-going employment,” Baily said.

“There are no winners in circumstances where people are underpaid. Everybody is impacted, including those franchisees who are meeting their obligations and doing the right thing.

“7-Eleven does not condone the underpayment of franchisee employees and is doing everything it can, including working with franchisees to stamp out the practice,” Baily said.

Last month around 50 7-Eleven stores nationwide were visited by staff from the Fels Wage Fairness Panel as investigations first uncovered by a joint investigation by Four Corners and Fairfax Media last year continue into the underpayment of employees at the convenience store chain.

At the time the Wage Fairness Panel said teams from the independent panel were visiting selected stores around the country to collect information that will assist in determining cases of underpayment of former and current 7-Eleven staff and specific compensation amounts.

Earlier in December 7-Eleven announced more than 90 per cent of stores had signed a new enterprise agreement, which includes a revised profit-sharing model between franchisees and head office, as well as increased compliance, governance and oversight initiatives.

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