Jobs market setback rekindles threat of interest rate cut

Original article by Patrick Commins, David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 8 : 21-Feb-20

Ben Jarman of JP Morgan says the latest jobs data will strengthen the case for another official interest rate cut. The Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that the economy added 46,200 full-time jobs in January, although this was offset by the loss of 32,700 part-time positions. The unemployment rate increased to a higher-than-expected 5.3 per cent, from 5.1 per cent in December. The labour participation rate rose by 0.1 per cent to 66.1 per cent, and the under-utilisation rate rose to a 19-month high of 13.9 per cent.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS, JP MORGAN AUSTRALIA LIMITED

Coronavirus could cost global economy $1.1tn in lost income

Original article by Phillip Inman
The Guardian – Page: Online : 20-Feb-20

The death toll from the coronavirus in mainland China has risen to 2,004, and more than 74,000 people across the nation have been infected with the respiratory illness. Meanwhile, two people have died in Iran after testing positive for the coronavirus, while Hong Kong has reported its second death from the illness. Oxford Economics has estimated that the coronavirus would reduce global economic growth by 1.3 per cent in 2020 if it becomes a pandemic; this could reduce global output by more than $1trn. However, the firm expects the impact of the virus to largely be limited to China.

CORPORATES
OXFORD ECONOMICS LIMITED

Coles and Target are the tip of the iceberg. There could be dozens more underpayment scandals

Original article by Euan Black
The New Daily – Page: Online : 20-Feb-20

Gerard Dwyer of the Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees’ Association says it is inevitable that another major company will admit to having underpaid its employees, after revelations that Target did so. The union has written to more than 100 employers, asking them to undertake a self-audit to ensure that their staff are being paid correctly. Dwyer has urged the federal government to restore the right of unions to conduct random checks of companies’ payrolls.

CORPORATES
SHOP, DISTRIBUTIVE AND ALLIED EMPLOYEES’ ASSOCIATION

Fair Work in grip of ALP influence

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 6 : 20-Feb-20

The Australian Mines & Metals Association has expressed concern that Labor appointees have dominated the rulings made by the Fair Work Commission in recent years. AMMA says that 94 per cent of cases heard by the full bench of the FWC between 2017 and 2019 were presided over by Labor appointees. AMMA CEO Steve Knott adds that four members of the FWC – all appointed by Labor – heard 87 per cent of the cases during this period. He says AMMA has raised the issue with Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN MINES AND METALS ASSOCIATION (INCORPORATED), AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Top unis face $1.2bn virus hit

Original article by Tim Dodd, Adam Creighton, Jill Rowbotham
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 19-Feb-20

The value of Australia’s education exports to China topped $12bn in 2019; analysis by the Centre for Independent Studies suggests that this could fall by up to 40 per cent in 2020, even if the coronavirus outbreak has been contained by June. Meanwhile, 10 of Australia’s top universities – including the so-called Group of Eight – could lose up to $1.2bn worth of fees from Chinese students who have been affected by the federal government’s travel ban. It has prevented about 65,000 students from arriving in Australia for the start of the academic year.

CORPORATES
THE CENTRE FOR INDEPENDENT STUDIES LIMITED, THE GROUP OF EIGHT LIMITED

Drop car tax, Treasurer told

Original article by Patrick Commins, Richard Ferguson
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 19-Feb-20

Tim Wilson, Craig Kelly and Jason Falinski are among the Liberal MPs who argue that the federal government’s luxury car tax should be abolished, given that it was introduced to protect local car manufacturers. The tax on imported vehicles raised some $675m in 2018-19, and this is expected to rise to $750m by 2022-23. Motor Trades Association of Australia CEO Richard Dudley describes it as an "unconscionable tax" that should have been scrapped when local car manufacturing ceased in 2017.

CORPORATES
LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, MOTOR TRADES ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED

Firms too slack on getting wages right

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 5 : 19-Feb-20

The federal government’s crackdown on wage theft could include ‘naming and shaming’ companies that underpay their staff and disqualifying executives from holding board seats. Attorney-General Christian Porter says companies that underpay their employees could face a range of penalties in addition to civil or criminal ones. He has dismissed suggestions that the growing issue of wage underpayments is due to the complexity of the modern awards system.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT

ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence increases to 109.1

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 19-Feb-20

ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian Consumer Confidence rose 1.2% to 109.1 in the week ended 16 February, with the bushfires over and Australians going back to business. Consumer Confidence increased and more than reversed last week’s loss, continuing the recent sawtooth pattern. The gains have been a little more than the losses, so the index reached its 2020 high last week. Current finances gained 2%, while future finances were down 0.1%. Current economic conditions gained 6.5% compared to a fall of 4.1% in the previous week, while future economic conditions were flat. The ‘Time to buy a major household item’ subindex fell 0.9%, adding to the loss of 5% seen in the previous reading. The four-week moving average for inflation expectations fell by 0.1ppt to 4.0%, while the weekly reading remained stable.

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ

Coles managers go back to time sheets

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 10 : 19-Feb-20

The Fair Work Ombudsman will investigate Coles Group following revelations that salaried managers of its supermarkets and liquor stores had not received their correct overtime payments for six years. Coles will provide affected employees with $15m in backpay, as well as $5m in interests and costs. It will also require staff to clock on and off at the start and end of their shifts; Gerard Dwyer of the Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees Association says this policy has not been strictly enforced in the past. The Australian Retail Association contends that the majority of underpayments are due to the complexity of industry awards.

CORPORATES
COLES GROUP LIMITED – ASX COL, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN, SHOP, DISTRIBUTIVE AND ALLIED EMPLOYEES’ ASSOCIATION, AUSTRALIAN RETAILERS ASSOCIATION

Qantas fends off unfair pay claims from aircraft engineers’ union

Original article by Lucas Baird
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 : 17-Feb-20

Qantas has won a lengthy legal dispute with the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers’ Association regarding how much it pays its engineers when they have additional training and qualifications. The Federal Court ruled it was Qantas to decide when and how it recognised extra certificates secured by its engineers, and it was not obliged to pay them more in such circumstances unless it met criteria under the relevant industrial agreement. It is the second time in two years that the Federal Court has dismissed a challenge by the ALAEA against Qantas on the issue of pay for extra training and qualifications.

CORPORATES
QANTAS AIRWAYS LIMITED – ASX QAN, AUSTRALIAN LICENSED AIRCRAFT ENGINEERS’ ASSOCIATION, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA