On Thursday, 7-Eleven founder Russ Withers proposed to change the company's business model after facing allegations of exploiting its workers by underpaying them. The profit share model of the stores is also getting reviewed after the exploitation of workers in the organisation was exposed.

Surrounded by controversy, 7-Eleven seems to be planning for an enterprise bargain agreement after Withers warned to stop underpayment of labours.

Withers confirmed that the changes in the stores’ chain business model will involve utilisation of the 7-Eleven corporate payroll system along with the introduction of external audit of compliance to make sure the obligation in the franchise agreement are met as per law.

The chairman committed that the improvement in the business model will yield successful results within weeks and it won’t take months, thereby protecting the rights of the staff members of the franchisee and the business as a whole.

As the chairman of the company, Withers said he is responsible for the ill-treatment of the workers in the company. “What has happened, happened on our watch, and it is my commitment as founder and chairman that it will be made good,” Withers said.

He urged the executives and board members to work on the issue and fix it. He said that trust and mutual benefit are the foundation stones of the franchise business model of 7-Eleven. “I am deeply disappointed and dismayed that some people with whom we are in business have abused that trust,” he said.

Withers also said that an independent panel led by Professor Allan Fells has been set up to look after the allegations. He requested the workers whoever had been underpaid should get in touch with the panel. “The panel’s terms of reference are designed to protect confidentiality, to assess claims of underpayment and – where determined – make good on that underpayment,” he assured.

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