Big brands face Senate grilling

Major franchise retail names were in the hot seats last week at the parliamentary inquiry into the effectiveness of the Franchising Code’s most recent public hearing.

The bosses from convenience and fuel chains 7-Eleven and Caltex, and Foodco, the franchisor of Jamaica Blue and Muffin Break, all appeared before the Senate committee.

Petrol giant Caltex admitted it had paid out $5.7m to rectify underpayments to 250 franchise employees but almost half of the network is still to be audited.

Media reports raising previous 7-Eleven franchisee allegations that witnesses had been bribed to withdraw from appearing at a June public hearing put the heat on the chain, which vigorously denied the claims.

Foodco chief Serge Infanti faced questioning over the alleged misleading of franchisees.

Another public hearing takes place in Canberra on Friday 21 September.

Appearing before the committee will be McDonald’s, the Franchise Council of Australia, the Law Council of Australa, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and the Department of Jobs and Small Business.