SOME former staff of the service station owner barricaded in his Epping store say they are going without heating and are depressed after losing their jobs when a franchise agreement with APCO was cancelled but they still support their “father-like” former boss.

About 20 people lost their jobs when the agreement with Epping and Thomastown service station owner Frank Eid ended on May 25.

Support from former employees of Mr Eid comes amid an investigation by APCO into employment concerns.

An investigator employed by APCO, who did not want to be named, claimed a number of breaches happened at the service stations and the Fair Work Ombudsman had launched an investigation.

The investigator claimed staff members were paid half “on the books” and half in cash and no penalty rates were paid.

The Leader is not suggesting that the claims are true, only that an investigation is being investigated.

 

One staff member claimed they were unfairly dismissed by Mr Eid.

Mr Eid, who has spent the past three weeks sleeping in the Epping store, said he “absolutely denied” the claims.

Out of half a dozen former employees interviewed by Whittlesea Leader, all but one said Mr Eid was a “great” employer and they would return to work for him if they could.

Gagan Uppal said he worked for Mr Eid for two years and he was “a father figure”.

Nizar Saleh said he worked for Mr Eid for six years at the Epping service station and since the closure of the store, his four children and wife had survived on Centrelink payments. “I have been suffering panic attacks and we are not using the heater,” he said.

Mr Saleh said he had visited Mr Eid most days since losing his job because he was “a great man”.

Meanwhile, 17 APCO service station franchisees issued a joint statement in support of APCO.

The statement said Mr Eid’s actions had tarnished the brand.

Extracted from Herald Sun