Courtney Wilson, 17 February 2016

A former 7-Eleven worker who was paid 47 cents per hour has spoken out about feeling threatened and scared of his former employer.

Mr Ahmed, who does not want to reveal his full name, is a 33-year old former 7-Eleven worker originally from Pakistan.

In 2007, he worked in three 7-Eleven stores in New South Wales, where he said he was grossly underpaid.

“I worked for free, and I worked as a slave,” he said.

“Even when I was not getting paid a single penny, I worked as a slave during that time.”

Mr Ahmed no longer works at 7-Eleven, but still fears his former boss.

He said he worked for a period of about two months without being paid at all.

“I started working and I started feeling like he was not willing to pay me any such thing,” Mr Ahmed said.

“When I asked him for payment, he says, ‘That’s training’.”

Eventually, Mr Ahmed was paid a lump sum of $325.

Based on that payment, and the number of hours he worked for the duration of his employment, Mr Ahmed’s hourly rate worked out to be just 47 cents.

‘You have to be very careful’, former employer warns

Mr Ahmed described his former employer as aggressive and threatening.

“He made me scared. He goes, ‘Look, I know you are working somewhere else as well’. I said, ‘Yes, I’m working’.

“He says, ‘I’ve seen you working somewhere else, so you have to be very very careful. You cannot work two places, you can only work with me’,” he said.

Since the underpayment of 7-Eleven staff was exposed last year, some workers have now received their back-pay.

More than $4 million has already been paid to about 180 affected workers, with an average payout of $23,000.

Mr Ahmed has not received his back-pay yet, which he said was an estimated $12,000.

“The actual repayments are already, in the case of 7-Eleven, are at about $4 million, and they’re obviously going to go up, a very big amount,” said Allan Fels, chairman of the independent Wage Fairness Panel, set up to investigate the claims.

“I believe that the repayment approach is going to be a very, very big deterrent for other firms not to break the law.”

A 7-Eleven spokesman said the company was appalled by the underpayment of workers, and was acting to eradicate the practice by appointing a special investigator, improving payroll oversight and introducing store audits.

The Wage Fairness Panel has received about 2,000 registered claims already, with more expected.

It is tipped the final payout figure could be anywhere between $25 million and $50 million.

Extracted in full from ABC News.