A homeless man sleeps under a blanket on the pavement outside a convenience shop in central Sydney March 15, 2012. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

Recent findings have revealed Australia’s biggest convenience store 7-Eleven has been ripping off its workers with up to two-thirds of its stores accused of underpaying their workers and doctoring payrolls. Former chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Allan Fels, said that the franchisees are making money by ripping off their workers and he doesn’t support the model.

"My impression, my strong impression, is that the only way a franchisee can make a go of it in most cases is by underpaying workers, by illegal behaviour. I don't like that kind of model," Fels said.

Fels said that the staff are being made to go through an impossible situation by a franchise agreement imposed by the 7-Eleven head office. Three raids in about 80 stores of the franchise over the past six years have also led the Fair Work Ombudsman to investigate into the foul practise. "That is something that we're looking at, at the moment," said Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James in an interview with the Four Corners and Fairfax Media. The office of Fair Work Ombudsman is an independent statutory agency under the Australian government, one of the functions of which is dealing with workplace complaints in accordance with the national workplace laws.

She also noted that under the Fair Work Act, the responsibility for ensuring employee entitlements rights rests with the franchisee. James also said that investigations have found that some franchisees are being put under pressure.

"What is 7-Eleven head office doing to ensure that the response to that pressure is not ripping of their workers?" she said. "I think 7-Eleven need to wake up to the fact that this conduct is persistent and it is a clear pattern and that really it's their moral responsibility, their ethical responsibility, to step up and take some steps to do something about it."

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