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John Passant

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September 2015



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Fair Work, building workers and 7-Eleven

The 7-Eleven business model is now obvious. Employ vulnerable people who are for example on student visas and get them to work say eight hours and only pay them for four. You judge they won’t complain for fear of losing their jobs and their student visas.

Maybe this model, under which the franchise owners get 57% of the gross profits from each store, and each individual franchisee 43%, helps explain quite a lot. For a start, one analysis of the situation shows that if proper wage payments were made then in a typical 7-Eleven situation the franchisee’s net profit would fall from $90,000 to $40,000. Who else benefits from these arrangements?


Australia has this Fair Work (FW) bureaucracy to regulate unions and workers and ostensibly to keep an eye on rogue employers. One of the two Fair Work bodies has the infamous building and construction group in it.

So where was this FW bureaucracy when the 7-Eleven workers needed them? Nowhere to be seen.

Now some of you might object that they can’t police everyone, but just how many rotten employers has this union and worker strangling bureaucracy actually caught and successfully prosecuted? How many building bosses for example are in jail for killing or maiming their workers by taking short cuts to save costs? None.

If the FW head kickers did any risk assessment, shouldn’t companies that employ many many foreign workers and students, and which operate 24 hours a day, be at the top of their list for checking? Rather than only reacting when Fairfax and ABC expose the 7-Eleven scandal – the FW Ombudsman is now looking into the abuses – why not be proactive?

Certainly the infamous Border Force uses foreign worker numbers as a criteria in raiding brothels, so why not FW in looking, not for visa violators, but for abusive employers ripping off their workers? I will tell you why. Fair Work is not about policing bosses. It is about policing workers and unions.

That is why one arm of the FW bureaucracy – the Fair Work Building Commission – is suing an organiser with the building union, the CFMEU. His crime? Helping a suicidal worker. Here is what the union says:

‘The Abbott Government – through its partisan building industry watchdog, the FWBC – is pursuing the CFMEU at a four day trial starting in Adelaide today, for going onto a work site to conduct an EBA ballot and assist a worker at risk of suicide.’

It is all about priorities, and making sure that bosses don’t rip off their workers isn’t a priority for the Abbott government in Australia. Destroying the CMFEU, one of the few unions that fights to defend its members, is. If the government can do that it makes the climate even better to drive down wages and cut conditions in other industries across Australia.

7-Eleven is a microcosm of Australia’s industrial relations. What Abbott and his hired anti-CFMEU puppets in the Fair Work industry want is a cowered and compliant building workforce a la 7-Eleven. They want workers to work longer for less, just like the 7-Eleven bosses have been doing, with the same result – more profit for the bosses.

One of the reasons this 7-Eleven criminality could exist and prosper is that the union which has coverage, the SDA, is a bosses’ union and doesn’t organise let alone fight for workers. Only after the event has the union spoken up, to argue, appropriately, for an amnesty for those workers who did speak out. We don’t want these people deported for visa violations for example. They are heroes.

There is another reason the Ombudsman section of the FW panopticon only intervenes once the media expose the problems. 7-Eleven keeps downward pressure on wages in competing stores, and coupled with the complicity of the SDA leadership, delivers wonderful results for the bosses there. Low pay and long hours in the supermarket and corner store industry also puts downward pressure on wages in other industries.

As the witch hunt into unions continues its biased and political Inquisition, when will the union movement start to organise the industrial fight-back?



Pingback from Fair Work, building workers and 7-Eleven – Written by JOHN PASSANT | winstonclose
Time September 3, 2015 at 4:28 am

[…] Posted by John, September 2nd, 2015 – under 7-Eleven, Abbott government, ABCC, Building industry, Building unions, Building workers,CFMEU, Fair Work Australia, Royal Commission into unions, SDA. Comments: none […]

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