In a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald this week, 7-Eleven CEO Angus McKay has disputed a claim made in the publication that “7-Eleven was systematically underpaying wages and doctoring payroll records” and has again outlined the businesses efforts to address issues among its franchisee network.
In response to an opinion piece by The Australia Institute Deputy Director Ebony Bennett (August 12), Mr McKay said: “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 of 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.”