The Prime Minister must take immediate action to address the widespread exploitation of fast food workers in Australia following recent revelations that the systemic underpayment of 7-Eleven workers is just the tip of the iceberg.
A Fair Work Ombudsman investigation into the fast food sector shows that just half of fast food employers checked are paying their staff correctly.
SDA, the union for retail, fast-food and warehouse workers, National Secretary Gerard Dwyer said with over 25,000 fast food business in the country, the number of workers being ripped off could potentially run into the hundreds of thousands.
“Australia is in the grips of an exploding black market in wage exploitation,” Mr Dwyer said.
“The fast food industry is so dispersed, with over 25,000 business across the country. That’s potentially hundreds of thousands of workers being ripped off everyday.
“The Prime Minister needs to start acknowledging that this is happening on his watch and start putting actions in place to stop this exploitation in its tracks.
“The recent 7-Eleven Senate Inquiry report outlined a list of actions required to address the exploitation of workers, particularly foreign students coming to Australia to work and study. Those recommendations are sitting on the PM’s desk, but he hasn’t so much as acknowledged that he’s read them.
“This Fair Work Ombudsman shows we can’t afford to wait any longer for action. People are being ripped off on every street corner in the country – we can’t let that continue.
“The first steps should be to ensure unions have general wage inspection powers restored and to have the current restrictions on wage inspections – which essentially mean that a person in a non-union workplace must be prepared to lose their job in order to ensure the legal wage rate is enforced – lifted.
“Outdated, ineffective restrictions are preventing us from assisting people who are in dire need of help.
“7-Eleven was clearly just the tip of the iceberg. We now know that underpayment of workers is rife across the country.”
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