Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Revealed: How 7-Eleven is Ripping Off its Workers.

This post's title borrows from an interactive report -- made public today -- summarising the Fairfax Media's journalists Adele Ferguson and Sarah Danckert and the ABC's Four Corners investigation on the underpayment of wages to staff (largely foreign students) working for the convenience store chain 7-Eleven Australia.

The screen capture above are the words of one of the 7-Eleven workers.

From the interactive report:
"The lot of the average 7-Eleven worker in Australia is as simple as it is bleak: you get paid half the $24.50 an hour award rate -- or less -- and if you complain your boss threatens you with deportation." (here)

Today, 7-Eleven chairman Russ Withers and CEO Warren Wilmot resigned to their positions. Chairman Withers admitted the "abhorrent behaviour", and last Thursday, before a Senate Committee meeting held in Melbourne, vowed to refund all exploited workers (here).

Michael Smith (former iiNet chairman) and Bob Baily will replace Withers and Wilmot, with the mandate to solve the situation of workers and franchisees.

It was also revealed that -- apart from the wages underpayment issue -- some franchisees extorted the foreign students between $30,000 and $70,000 to sponsor their visas. (here)


As a Marxist socialist and -- above all -- a worker, I must express my gratitude and admiration to the ABC's Four Corners and very especially to Adele Ferguson, Sarah Danckert, Klaus Toft and all the team from Fairfax Media, for their work. Michael Fraser, consumer rights advocate, should not be forgotten: his friendship -- as a middle-class man -- for a 7-Eleven worker, a proletarian, made a difference.


The truth of exploitation -- revealed here only in its most evident aspect: when labour laws are breached -- cannot be ignored, in spite of all the lies concocted to deceive us workers. I've been following the case -- extensively reported by Fairfax Media, the ABC and other media -- and shall have more to write about it.

Further Information:

Original Four Corners' report by Adele Ferguson and Klaus Toft (broadcast Sep. 2), with video, transcript and background information, including 7-Eleven Australia statements.
7-Eleven: The Price of Convenience

From The Washington Post's Daniel J. Galvin (Sep. 6), a related story from the U.S. here (h/t Corey Robin)

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