SYDNEY, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- International Pizza franchise, Domino's, has come under heavy criticism on Monday after evidence of unethical behavior regarding Visa fraud.
A phone call captured by an undercover Chinese student working for the Australian media outlet Fairfax, records a Domino's franchisee in North Queensland say in Mandarin "I will say straight that we want to sell this sponsorship, but you need to pay some money."
"We might need you pay $100,000 plus ... $100-$150,000."
The accusation comes at a time when the franchise is also being investigated by Australia's Fair Work Ombudsman after a six month investigation conducted by Fairfax, alleged the company has also systematically underpaid its workers at a number of stores across the country.
The media outlet claimed a number of foreign workers from China and India were offered sponsorship in return for cheap labor.
"I know of one person who is sponsored and work 60 hours a week and gets paid for 40 hours," former Domino's store manager Azrael Yin, told Fairfax.
"Franchisees know if they ask the manager being sponsored to edit people's time worked to save on wages, they will feel obligated to do it for fear of losing their sponsorship."
"One of the workers went back to China after the rip-off."
Despite the business selling over one million pizzas per week in Australia and the company's incredible success on the Australian Securities Exchange which saw its share price rise from 2.20 Australian dollars (1.76 dollars U.S.) in 2005 when the stock was first listed, to over 60 Australian dollars (46 dollars U.S) per share today, it appears the individual stores are struggling to make profits.
"If this week [there were] bad sales, labour blows out to 33 per cent of sales, so I receive a call to make it 27 per cent. Then I deduct my own time as well as the other workers," Yin said.
"I remember I had to use my wife to do deliveries with my two kids in the back of the car, "I thought I would stay in the system long enough to recoup my costs first, but the longer I stayed in the system the worse it got."
One Franchise owner blames the issue on the slashing of pizza prices.
As food costs, labour, rent and other expenses have continued to rise, the price of pizza has actually declined to levels that parody the 1990's.
"At the same time, Domino's profit is doubling. Hence, we have clients winning by purchasing cheap food, Domino's profit skyrocketing. So, nobody is left to pay for this but the franchisees," Kamran Talebi said.
In reaction to the claims made against them, domino's said in a statement, "there is no reason, no excuse, and no tolerance for any Domino's franchise that chooses not to pay its employees correctly or fails to meet expectations around ethics and governance."
"Domino's has found no evidence of a link between franchisee profitability and breaches of employment obligations in this time."
But one worker told Fairfax "I have on a regular basis if not every single day have been asked to work for at least 1 - 2 hours without pay...I have not been paid my double pay as per union agreements and legislation. Also, sometimes my clock-in hours have changed without my knowledge. I have been very depressed and for the last 2 months and have been admitted to St Vincent Hospital."