Around 50 7-Eleven stores have been targeted by staff from the Fels Wage Fairness Panel today as investigations continue into the underpayment of employees at the convenience store chain.
The Fels Wage Fairness Panel said today 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.
The coordinated visits have been scheduled as panel investigations identified stores throughout Australia that require on-site investigations. The visits have been triggered by the panel’s analysis of information obtained from various sources including from 7-Eleven, from analysis of patterns of claims and from analysis of specific claims.
For some claims additional information is required. In other cases onsite investigation is required to help identify probable and possible cases of underpayment. Around 1200 claims have now been submitted to the panel, with more expected as payments begin to be made.
Chairman of the panel, Professor Allan Fels, said the visits “will send a strong message to franchisees that underpayment practices will be identified and action taken to pay what is owing”.
“As this action today demonstrates, the panel is committed to identifying and quantifying all cases of underpayment and to getting redress for all underpaid 7-Eleven employees, past and present,” Fels said.
Earlier this month 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. A new payroll system is also expected to be introduced early next year.
A 7-Eleven spokesperson told C&I Week the company was aware store visits were being conducted. The spokesperson said reports by media outlets panel staff were also seizing documents during the visits were incorrect.
“We have engaged with the Fels Panel and with Deliotte to familiarise them with store operations to minimise any disruption that those visits might cause instore. [Media] reports of seizing documents is not correct. Part of the new agreement, which 90 per cent of franchisees have signed, is that they have agreed to allow 7-Eleven or other designated entities such as Fairwork and the Fels Panel to go in store and view documents such as time sheets, rostering, and payroll.”