7-Eleven: Industry reform a must

7-eleven7-Eleven has responded to fresh claims of exploiting its workers by ‘asserting facts’ over its wage repayment program and urging claimants to come forward.

Fairfax Media reported last week that the Fair Work Ombudsman is considering further legal action against 7-Eleven operators after new evidence emerged that franchisees were still exploiting workers.

The convenience chain issued a statement and said it is operating to ensure any current or former employees with legitimate claims were due entitlements as quickly as possible.

The statement asserted that the company’s wage repayment program was processing claims and paying claimants at a fast rate than the previous process.

It also said the process had been designed to be as simple as possible for claimants, with the independent Secretariat, managed by Deloitte, overseeing the program.

“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,” said Michael Smith, 7-Eleven chairman.

The international chain said it is also advocating for franchisors to have the right to immediately terminate a franchise agreement in the case of serious non-compliance with Commonwealth workplace laws or Fair Work instruments and expansion of franchisor responsibilities within the applicable industry codes.

“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,” Smith said.

Smith said the company’s advocacy is based on the workplace challenges 7-Eleven has confronted and the actions they have taken to improve compliance, governance and transparency across their 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,” he added.

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