Three weeks following the firing of the Independent Panel appointed to assess the wage claims from underpaid workers, 7-Eleven has launched a new claims process for the hundreds of underpaid workers.
The new process includes an interactive website and a wage repayment program administered by Deloitte. The website features an interactive ‘claim determination’ showing the current number of claims which have been determined, being 421 and the total value of the claims, being $16,723,000 averaging out to be around $39,0722 per worker, per claim.
The independent secretariat managed by Deloitte, manages all the claims 7-Eleven receives. This process includes investigating each claim and providing to the 7-Eleven Claims Approval Committee a report recommending the value of the repayment.
While the ‘News’ section of the new website advises that an invitation has been extended to the Fair Work Ombudsman to ‘review the values and design principles of the new program’, 7-Eleven has not yet commented on the Coalition’s proposal to increase Franchisor liability in regard to underpayments by Franchisees.
Former ACCC Chairman and sacked Independent Panel Chair, Allan Fells, has commented on the new ‘in house wage repayment program’ questioning its independence. Mr Fells said ”The new arrangement is unexplained and somewhat ambiguous as to whether 7-Eleven or Deloittes or some combination makes a decision. But either way, I don’t think the claimant’s will have much faith in the process and its independence.’
Mr Fells validated his comments by referencing his time on the independent panel working with 7-Eleven, saying that ‘Everything I heard from 7-Eleven for months was aimed at cutting the costs to them of the process, by setting really high standards and making it difficult to get claims through’ (ABS News).
Labour Senator Sue Lines, previously the head of an inquiry into the exploitation of temporary work visa holders said she lacks confidence in the process because 7-Eleven have really strong interests to try and reduce payments (understandably).
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