“United Petroleum pays its employees all award wages including legislated penalty rates without exception” David Szymczak, the Chief Operating Officer of United Petroleum said today.

United Petroleum is a proudly Australian owned importer, wholesaler, and retailer of petrol. United has over 350 retail locations across Australia and 50 of those are operated by franchisees. This independent and privately owned company is very progressive and is Australia’s largest distributor of ethanol blended fuels.

Following on from reports of widespread wages abuse in the 711 (sic) Franchise network, there have been ABC reports where it has been alleged that a United franchisee or a number of franchisees have been under paying workers.

Further in the ABC reports it has been alleged that, “One franchisee operating a service station that is open 24 hours a day has admitted to paying his workers just $15 per hour…The man said he believes that some United Employees were only being paid about $10 – $12 per hour, and claimed he has told senior management about underpaying workers with no response.”

United Petroleum pays to its employees all award wages including legislated penalty rates without exception.

United understands that the allegations regarding the underpayment of wages by a United Franchisee or United Franchisees, arose out allegations made to the ABC from two disgruntled ex-franchisees one of which was terminated for fraudulent acts and the other that failed to pay his bills. One of those franchisees allegedly admitted paying $15 per hour to his workers. If this is true and United had been aware of that activity the franchisee would have been given a breach notice as he would have been in breach of his Franchise Agreement.

United in no way is condones or is involved in the underpayment of wages, and takes the view that it is not an option when seeking to improve the profitability of any business. If a franchisee has under paid wages then he is in breach of his franchise agreement.

David Szymczak went on to explain, “The United Franchise model is very different to 711 Franchise model. In our case;

  • There are clear provisions in our Franchise Agreement that the franchisee must pay award wages and obey all laws and regulations. If a franchisee does not they are clearly in breach of their Agreement;
  • Our financial offer to franchisees is far superior to that of 711;
  • We only ever franchise a site after a trading history is established, so the prospective franchisee knows exactly the business performance he can expect (unlike 711 and most other franchises). The franchisee can make his financial projections with confidence;
  • Franchisees attend training course that they must pass to enter into a United Franchise. United also provides extensive hands on support;
  • We have never had a franchisee go broke;
  • We do not have any involvement in the Franchisees payroll;

We are not aware of any approaches from Fair Work or any other regulators regarding the underpayment of wages by our Franchisees.

“United always pays award wages including all penalties and allowances in line with all laws and regulations, in all United businesses including all company run sites. Should there be Government enquiries into these matters we will fully cooperate, as we always do.” David Szymczak, the Chief Operating Officer of United Petroleum said today.

This story first appeared on Convenience and Impulse Retailing