Fear, exploitation sweep through Myer, as department store exposed as next 7-Eleven

Fear, exploitation sweep through Myer, as department store exposed as next 7-Eleven

Retail icon Myer was tonight exposed on national television being cleaned by workers underpaid by up to $20 an hour, in what is shaping up to be another 7-Eleven-style scandal. 

Tonight ABC’s 7.30 program revealed another shocking example of the crisis of fear, insecurity and exploitation of vulnerable workers that is sweeping Australian workplaces.



United Voice has called for urgent political leadership to end the crisis of fear and insecurity in Australian workplaces and rebuild the fair go for all, before more workers are burned.

In a month-long investigation by ABC’s 7.30 program and United Voice, 30 cleaners working for Spotless subcontractors across 11 Myer stores were interviewed and all were found to be underpaid. Despite this, the cleaners were too scared to stand up for their rights.

Spotless has only held the contract to clean Myer stores for several months. Previously it was held by Pioneer Services whose contract was terminated by Myer after a Fair Work Ombudsman investigation revealed it was using a subcontractor that was also underpaying cleaners.


Just like at 7-Eleven many Myer cleaners are on student visas, however local cleaners are also being exploited.

“There is a crisis of fear, insecurity and rip offs in Australian workplaces right now. We’ve seen this with 7-Eleven, the Four Corners exposé on the fruit and vegetable growing industry and again now in contract cleaning,” said Jess Walsh, United Voice Victorian Secretary.

“We need to break the chain of exploitation that comes about when workers are employed indirectly. Companies like Spotless should be legally compelled to ensure everyone who works directly or indirectly for them is paid the proper legal rates.”

“They must be compelled to provide a workplace where people can freely choose to join their union, free from fear and intimidation.”

“The system relies on frightened and insecure workers to speak out and take action – that system is unjust and it is clearly failing us.”

“We need political leadership to rebuild the Australian culture of a fair go for all, where everyone can be free to exercise their rights.”

“We have written to Spotless to ask for a meeting to insist they directly employ all their cleaners.”

“These cleaners work incredibly hard to keep Myer clean and hygienic for its customers and they deserve decent, secure jobs. But they are being exploited and many are too scared to speak out for fear of being sacked.”

“Myer has a moral responsibility to ensure all cleaners are directly employed and receiving the correct pay and entitlements.”


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