Media reports have revealed thousands of workers from 7-Eleven franchises have been underpaid.
Some of these retail/ convenience stores pay students cash in hand which allows them to hide pay rate from ato and hence make it easy for them to pay students well below $18 per hour which is an average rate. Students agree to it as with cash in hand they can work more number of hours and hide the overall hours worked per week.
However, with this kind of agreement between employers and students, international students end up getting exploited at work by not getting the pay rate they deserve.
Kevin, an international student says “It’s really expensive. And we can see that all over the news that Australia really does have one of the highest costs when it comes to studying. For instance accommodation is really expensive”. Kevin is one of many international students finding it hard to make ends meet.
After reports of worker exploitation by 7-Eleven stores and United Petroleum, some students are saying the laws are at fault.
Students believe that 20 hours per week is not enough. It is this restriction that make students desperate and make them vulnerable to exploitation by employers.
“A lot of international students would be so desperate to work, even in abusive working environments, just to be able to support their needs, their weekly needs. And so I think that’s where the exploitation by employers comes in, because they know there are heaps of international students who are willing to take on jobs which are not offering what should be offered.” said Kevin.
International students in Australia contribute billions of dollars to the Australian economy, and Australian government should consider their plea and should take some steps to help out the students to make sure they get the pay rate they deserve and do not get exploited at work.
This article was originally published on sbs.com.au