7-Eleven’s pay woes
There is no excuse for breaking the law. But if you create a situation where it is virtually impossible for people to not break the law, you must expect survival instincts to kick in.
Both 7-Eleven and now United Petroleum franchisees are currently pariahs, accused of underpaying their staff. They maintain that they cannot stay in business without paying below award wages.
The manufacturing industry “went west” years ago driven into obscurity by the unions. The result is that now we simply do not have a manufacturing industry to speak of.
Are retailers being forced into a similar quagmire where survival is becoming increasingly difficult for a host of reasons, wages being paramount?
Some employers have broken the law. Put another way, they are practicing civil disobedience. Some of their underpaid employees are moaning and groaning but the majority are not.
This is not unique to retail. There is a flourishing garment manufacturing industry – call it a cottage industry if it makes you feel better – where sweat shops are producing goods under our noses using underpaid labour.
There is not a retailer of consequence who will disagree that rent and wages are too high. Colleagues in the retail industry have scorned the notion that wages must come down. Or at least not go up. If this doesn’t happen, we will see more wage rorts taking place. And if we believe that the current outcry is confined to 7-Eleven and UP, we are being naive.
Do the government and the RBA understand that the economy is flat and that the dollar is at a historical low hitting 69 plus cents? What will this do for retail? Imports will continue to increase in price. Sure – exports will be helped and so will tourism but this hardly affects retail. Higher prices mean less sales.
One does not want to scaremonger but right now, retail is looking at a pretty ordinary future and the actions by 7-Eleven and UP are symptomatic of desperate people.
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