In a shocking case of what a lawyer slammed as “slavery”, an Aussie 7-Eleven worker was paid a pitiful amount by the largest convenience retailer in Australia.
The Federal Government created history when it enacted antislavery laws in 2018, but revelations that one food delivery driver was killed every 11 days over the last two months show large corporations continue to exploit Australia’s most vulnerable workers unchecked.
While the laws start imposing obligations this year on companies with a turnover of greater than $100 million to monitor the risk of slavery in their supply chains and report those risks, they clearly do not go far enough.
It might be easy to think of slavery as an overseas problem but slavery is well and truly alive in Australia.
It can be women kept in brothels whose passports are confiscated and are forced to work to pay off supposed debts. It can be farm workers forced to live in substandard accommodation, bullied, sexually harassed and denied pay.
It can be international students who – it has been revealed in survey after survey – are systematically underpaid. I represented a 7-Eleven worker who, once we tallied his hours worked and the pay he received, was only getting 47 cents an hour. I see that as slavery. We acted pro bono with the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association from 2015 to 2019 recovering nearly $6 million for more than 100 ripped off employees for work dating back to 2007.