I was paid 47c an hour: 7-Eleven worker
A former international student says he was paid less than 50 cents an hour to work at 7-Eleven franchises in Sydney.
The Pakistani man’s story comes as other former 7-Eleven workers begin to receive thousands of dollars in back pay stemming from Fair Work claims.
The former accounting student, who wants to be known only as Ahmed, says he was paid just $325 for work performed over two months in 2007 at 7-Eleven stores in Sydney.
Lawyers representing Ahmed estimate he worked 685 hours – making his pay rate just 47 cents an hour.
Ahmed says when he complained about his pay, his boss threatened to report him to authorities for working more hours than his visa allowed.
“He was blackmailing me – he says, ‘I have seen you working somewhere else and you are under my observation so don’t to be smart with me’,” Ahmed told AAP.
“He wanted me to keep working with him as a slave without being paid anything.”
Ahmed has since found a new job and hopes to receive at least $10,000 in back pay after his case was taken on by law firm Maurice Blackburn.
The firm is representing dozens of former 7-Eleven workers in Fair Work claims, some worth more than $270,000.
Maurice Blackburn employment principal Giri Sivaraman called for an education program to teach international workers about pay and conditions in Australia.
He said the “virtual slavery” of vulnerable workers was still going on.
“It’s very clear to us that there’s a complete absence of knowledge amongst people who come here about their working rights,” Mr Sivaraman told AAP.
“If they’re not aware of their rights then they don’t know that they’re being exploited, nor do they know what to do about it.”
Originally published as I was paid 47c an hour: 7-Eleven worker