7-Eleven is currently the subject of a national Inquiry by the Fair Work Ombudsman into allegations of systemic underpayments and false record-keeping practices. Legal action has today been launched against the owner-operators of a Melbourne 7-Eleven store, who will face court for allegedly underpaying 12 employees more than $84,000. It is claimed the employees, including international students, were sometimes paid flat rates as low as $11 an hour.
In the past six years, the Fair Work Ombudsman has recovered more than $600,000 in underpaid wages and entitlements for 182 workers at 7-Eleven outlets.
“And it is important that there is transparency and accountability to the Fair Work Ombudsman and the community around the steps taken by 7-Eleven head office to bring about sustainable change in culture among its franchisees,” said Fair Work Ombudsman Ms James.
The ombudsman said that while it was pleasing all but $500 of the underpaid wages bill had now been rectified by the employer, legal action was initiated because of the alleged deliberate exploitation of vulnerable overseas workers.
“Clearly, we welcome any development which puts money which should have been paid in the first place back into the hands of workers,” said Ms James. “I am pleased that 7-Eleven head office now seems willing to take steps to address any systemic issues underpinning the wages and conditions breaches we have been finding at 7-Eleven stores for some time now.”
Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. An interpreter service is available by calling 13 14 50 and information and helpful materials on the website is translated into 27 different languages.