Bosses, union unite to save jobs

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 4 : 25-Mar-20

The Fair Work Commission has approved temporary changes to the industry award for hospitality workers in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The agreement between the United Workers Union and the Australian Hotels Association will allow employers to reduce workers’ hours to 60 per cent of full-time or regular part-time hours; employees can also be directed to take leave at half pay with just 24 hours’ notice. The changes to the Hospitality Award will initially be in place until 30 June. Employers and unions will seek similar changes to awards covering clerks and restaurant workers.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, UNITED WORKERS UNION, AUSTRALIAN HOTELS ASSOCIATION

Bosses call for wages freeze, or jobs will go

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 5 : 16-Mar-20

Master Grocers Australia has urged the Fair Work Commission to freeze award pay rates in the retail sector for 12 months in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The MGA warns in its submission to the FWC’s annual review of the minimum wage that the impact of the coronavirus is likely to be felt for at least a year, so it is not an appropriate time to be increasing award wages. The MGA also contends that a small increase in the minimum wage may be justified, but not the three per cent rise in 2019. Most workers employed by MGA members are paid minimum award rates.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, MASTER GROCERS’ AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Qantas worker underpay hit $7.1m

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Weekend Australian – Page: 10 : 14-Mar-20

National carrier Qantas has become embroiled in the wage underpayments scandal, after admitting that it had been in breach of the Fair Work Act for several years. Qantas has agreed to an enforceable undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman following revelations that 638 employees were underpaid a total of $7.1m over an eight-year period. The scandal will cost Qantas around $9m when back-pay and interest is taken into account. It will also made a contrition payment of $390,000, which the Australian Services Union says is inadequate.

CORPORATES
QANTAS AIRWAYS LIMITED – ASX QAN, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN SERVICES UNION

Politics is killing productivity, says McKibbin

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 12-Mar-20

Professor Warwick McKibbin of the Australian National University warns that productivity reform will not be achieved without support from both sides of politics. The former Reserve Bank board member has told a business summit that the political system is the biggest hurdle to achieving such reform. Meanwhile, Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott has called for an overhaul of the enterprise bargaining regime, arguing that it is no longer working.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA

Unions urge paid leave for quarantined staff

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 9 : 5-Mar-20

The federal government has advised workers who have recently been overseas to undertake self-quarantine for 14 days. Victorian Trades Hall secretary Luke Hilakari contends that workers should not be penalised if they are ordered to stay at home and do not have the option of telecommuting. He says they should receive full pay and not be required to use their annual or personal leave. ACTU secretary Sally McManus has urged the federal government to provide financial support to casual workers and contractors who are not entitled to paid leave.

CORPORATES
VICTORIAN TRADES HALL COUNCIL, ACTU

CFMEU slugged $486k for blockade

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 2 : 3-Mar-20

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union has been fined $404,500 for organising an unlawful blockade at the Barangaroo project in Sydney. The Federal Circuit has also ordered five current and former union officials to pay fines ranging from $7,500 to $22,500. The industrial action was aimed at forcing concreting firm De Martin & Gasparini to sign an enterprise agreement. The CFMMEU and its officials have now been fined $9.62m in total since the Australian Building & Construction Commission was reinstated in 2016.

CORPORATES
CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, FEDERAL CIRCUIT COURT OF AUSTRALIA, DE MARTIN AND GASPARINI PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION COMMISSION

Employer warning on wage reforms

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 4 : 2-Mar-20

ACTU secretary Sally McManus has criticised a proposal to allow workers to trade off penalty rates in return for higher basic wages. Fair Work Commission president Iain Ross has raised the prospect of extending ‘loaded rates’ in enterprise agreements to workers who are covered by industry awards. Employers’ groups have expressed support for the proposal, but some warn that it will not succeed if the FWC continues to adopt a ‘technical approach’ to approving enterprise agreements.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, ACTU, COUNCIL OF SMALL BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP

Negligent profits at workers’ expense

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 8 : 21-Feb-20

Super Retail Group has advised that the extent of its wage underpayment scandal is worse than initially thought. The retailer says employees have been underpaid by $61.2m, compared with a previous estimate of $53m. Meanwhile, Professor Andrew Stewart from the University of Adelaide suggests that some employers have been negligent by shifting staff to annualised salaries while failing to determine if they have been working additional hours.

CORPORATES
SUPER RETAIL GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUL, UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE

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