United Petroleum has rejected allegations aired on ABC television last week, that some UP sites had underpaid workers by paying them $15.00 to about $10.00 to 12.00 an hour and that the company had been advised.
“United Petroleum pays its employees all award wages including legislated penalty rates without exception,” David Szymczak, the chief operating officer of United Petroleum said.
The company stated that United Petroleum is a proudly Australian owned importer, wholesaler and retailer of petrol, an independent and privately owned company that is very progressive and Australia’s largest distributor of ethanol blended fuels. United has over 350 retail locations across Australia and 50 of those are operated by franchisees.
“United understands that the allegations regarding the underpayment of wages by a United franchisee or United franchisees, arose out allegations made to the ABC from two disgruntled ex-franchisees, one of which was terminated for fraudulent acts and the other that failed to pay his bills,” Mr Szymczak said.
“One of those franchisees allegedly admitted paying $15.00 per hour to his workers. If this is true and United had been aware of that activity, the franchisee would have been given a breach notice as he would have been in breach of his Franchise Agreement.
“United in no way is condones or is involved in the underpayment of wages, and takes the view that it is not an option when seeking to improve the profitability of any business.”
Mr Szymczak explained that the United franchise model is very different to the 7-11 franchise model. “In our case, there are clear provisions in our Franchise Agreement that the franchisee must pay award wages and obey all laws and regulations. If a franchisee does not they are clearly in breach of their Agreement,” he said.
Should there be government enquiries into these matters we will fully cooperate, as we always do, Mr Szymczak added.