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Letter to the editor, Sydney Morning Herald

Ebony Bennett writes that "Fairfax revealed 7-Eleven was systematically underpaying wages and doctoring payroll records", and "workers who are getting ripped off (by) multinational companies and franchises like 7-Eleven" ("Politicians' silence is as telling as their outbursts", 12 August).

It is common knowledge that the abhorrent underpayment and fraudulent payroll practices occurred at the hands of Franchisees within the 7-Eleven network, not the 7-Eleven business, and this misrepresentation deliberately clouds this important distinction.

Despite the fact that it had no legal obligation to do so 7-Eleven Australia stepped forward and assumed accountability, including repaying in excess of $150 million to franchisee staff, implementing significant and wide-ranging business reforms to prevent any recurrence, and effecting the termination of a number franchise agreements for wage fraud. 

Those measures and initiatives notwithstanding it has always been and remains the case that the illegal underpayments and fraudulent payroll practices were unfortunately committed by independent businesses within our network, not the 7-Eleven franchisor as the article suggests.

As franchisor we have taken responsibility for what happened in our network and will continue to take all necessary steps to stamp out these appalling practices. This has included actively proposing reforms to the Fair Work Act and the industry codes under which we operate, and supporting the Government's Protecting Vulnerable Workers Bill - legislation which the article erroneously laments has not been forthcoming.

 

Yours sincerely,

Angus McKay

CEO 7-Eleven Stores Pty Ltd