Rogue of the month: Subway


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Thanks to Kai from the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union for nominating Subway for our ‘Rogue of the month’ column.

In recent months, the sandwich chain Subway has been caught out underpaying their workers. After receiving a raft of complaints, the Fair Work Ombudsman was forced to investigate.

They looked at 22 franchises and found that 18 were non-compliant with workplace laws. All up, 167 employees were underpaid a total of $81,638!

A whole number of issues were found, including the failure to pay workers minimum rates, casual loadings, overtime and holiday pay.

While the theft of people’s wages was blatant and intentional, the consequences for the franchise owners were minor. Fair Work inspectors issued only a handful of compliance notices and cautions, and a mere nine fines totalling $5880. Clearly this will not deter future breaches.

While this sort of conduct is part of Subway’s business model, the company has also benefited from dodgy enterprise agreements signed in conjunction with the right-wing Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA).

One infamous SDA/Subway agreement paid workers less than the minimum wage. This was approved after the SDA argued that the company wouldn’t pay penalty rates anyway because students would supposedly be offered shifts on weekdays (despite the fact that this is when they would be in school!).

For years the SDA and Subway had a cosy arrangement whereby managers would help the union sign up members and the union would help the company cut wages.

It’s corrupt deals like this that have turned thousands of young people away from the trade unions and facilitated a huge transfer of wealth from vulnerable workers to some of Australia’s biggest companies.

For this, Subway wins our ‘Rogue of the month’ award for November 2019 (The SDA came in a close second).


To nominate a dodgy boss, greedy landlord or corporate stooge for our ‘Rogue of the month’ column email The Socialist HERE.

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