Law firm Maurice Blackburn has appealed to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to intervene in the underpayment scandal that has engulfed convenience store chain 7-Eleven.
In a statement released yesterday, Maurice Blackburn principal Giri Sivaraman said the firm is calling for the government to introduce a visa amnesty for 7-Eleven workers that have been underpaid but have not yet spoken up because they are on student or working visas and fear being deported.
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Maurice Blackburn has also offered free legal advice to any 7-Eleven workers trying to recover wages and entitlements.
Sivaraman said the independent panel established by 7-Eleven to address the underpayments will be ineffective without government intervention.
“They don’t trust the company and are concerned they will be reported for working more than 20 hours a week, when in fact they were often coerced into doing this,” Sivaraman said.
“Without a visa amnesty, the panel that has been set up to fix the problem will be paralysed.
“From the 7-Eleven workers I have spoken to, it’s clear workers live in fear. They have been very loyal and now some are being intimidated about wanting to recover underpayment of wages.”
The push for a visa amnesty comes as Fairfax reports 7-Eleven chairman and major shareholder Russ Withers will appear before a Senate committee into working visas on Thursday.
Change in government a boost for consumer confidence
Consumer confidence has soared on the back of positive approval for new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, according to the latest weekly data.
The weekly ANZ Roy Morgan’s confidence survey reveals consumer confidence jumped to 8.7% since last week, where it had been sitting around the 7% mark.
ANZ chief economist Warren Hogan said in the accompanying report the jump could be attributed to the change in government, calling it a “clear vote of confidence in the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull”.
The overall confidence index is now at 114.5.
Local shares have rallied on the back of a stronger close from Wall Street on Monday.
Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, said in a statement this morning the local market is “climbing the stairs of recovery” after experiencing yesterday’s “nerve-rattling drop in the elevator”.
“A lift in consumer confidence and better than expected growth in Q2 house prices is also adding support. An overnight oil rally puts energy stocks at the top of the market, and industrial and consumer staples stocks are also sought, as every share market sector trades higher,” he said.
McCarthy said better leads from overseas stocks and a lower Australian dollar are helping investors find firmer ground.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was up 0.5%, rising 25.6 points to 5091 points at 11.57am AEST. On Monday, the Dow Jones closed up 0.77%, rising 125.61 points to 16510.2 points.