Government’s workplace changes may not help exploited 7-Eleven workers: Greens

Greens Employment & Industrial Relations spokesperson Adam Bandt MP today said the government’s proposal for changes to workplace laws may not help the exploited 7-Eleven workers, nor prevent future widespread exploitation in franchises.

“The government has had the best part of a year to do something about the rampant exploitation of 7-Eleven workers, yet they sat on their hands. Now on the eve of an election the government has been dragged into taking some action by the brave individuals who have been exploited and spoken up, whistleblowers, community advocates and unions,” Mr Bandt said.

“However it appears as if the government’s proposal may not help the hundreds of workers who have been exploited by 7-Eleven, nor prevent similar exploitation happening in future.”

“There is a big loophole in the government’s proposal, which head offices will exploit.”

“The government says it will make head offices responsible for the pay of its franchises’ employees, yet it seems head offices will be let off the hook if they’ve given their franchisees an ‘education session’.”

“Giving more resources to the Fair Work Ombudsman is a good idea, but there’s no point giving the watchdog more teeth if the watchdog if the watchdog can’t bite head office.”

“The Greens have led the campaign against systematic exploitation in Parliament by referring the 7-Eleven allegations to the Senate inquiry and introducing legislation to make head offices accountable for underpayments of its franchise’s employees.”

“If the government were serious about ensuring 7-Eleven workers could get the payment they deserve and preventing future 7-Eleven style exploitation, they would get behind the Greens’ bill to make head offices legally liable for underpayments by franchisees. This would drive real culture change and protect people’s rights at work.”

Media contact: Adam Pulford, 0429 109 054