Muffin Break has backtracked on claims that entitled millennials are not prepared to work for free to enter the job market.
Following a widespread online backlash after the weekend remarks, general manager Natalie Brennan said on Monday that her comments had been taken out of context.
“I don’t expect anyone to work unpaid and Foodco Group policy is, and has always been, that all employees including interns, employed either directly or through our brands, are paid according to relevant awards,” Ms Brennan said.
She apologised for “any misunderstanding or upset”.
The apology came after Ms Brennan earlier said that young jobseekers weren’t interested in doing unpaid work anymore, and blamed social media for apparently giving them an inflated sense of self-importance.
“There’s just nobody walking in my door asking for an internship, work experience or unpaid work, nobody,” Ms Brennan said.
Responding to recent media reports Natalie Brennan said:“The recent article does not reflect my values or those of…
“You don’t see it anymore. Before that people would be knocking on your door all the time, you couldn’t keep up with how many people wanted to be working. In fact, I’d run programs because there were so many coming in.
“In essence they’re working for free, but I can tell you every single person who has knocked on my door for an internship or work experience has ended up with a job. Every single person, because they back themselves.”
On Monday, Ms Brennan said the article did not reflect her values or those of parent company Foodco.
“Every day for the past 25 years I’ve worked with young people who are motivated, passionate and hard-working. This is as true today as it was when I started my career,” she said.
“The unpaid work I referred to was supervised programs run through schools, TAFEs or universities, which provide valuable gained experience to people before they enter the workforce full-time.
“I want to apologise for any misunderstanding or upset caused by my comments.”
Young people, Labor and Greens politicians and union figures came out to criticise her comments at the weekend.
ACTU union boss Sally McManus said millennials had had enough of “being robbed”.
“Robbed of wages, robbed of ever having a job with paid leave, robbed of ever owning a house. Good on them,” she said.
“Those doing the robbing had better watch out.”
The franchising sector has been hauled in front of a Senate inquiry, which is due to table its report next month, following underpayment scandals at franchises such as 7-Eleven and Dominos pizza.
Muffin break view of millennials is offensive and plain wrong. They think they’re doing workers a favour by letting them work for zilch. Muffin break needs to comply with law, apologise to young workers and, I dare say, make a grovelling apology in order to save their business.
— Brendan O'Connor (@BOConnorMP) February 24, 2019
Capitalism has devalued labour and young people to the point where the expectation is that we should be grateful to work for free.#MuffinBreak is a metaphor for the toxic attitudes towards young people across the board, especially in politics #Auspol
— Senator Jordon Steele-John (@Jordonsteele) February 24, 2019
Millennials have had enough of being robbed. Robbed of wages, robbed of ever having a job with paid leave, robbed of ever owning a house. Good on them. Those doing the robbing had better watch out.
— Sally McManus (@sallymcmanus) February 23, 2019