Unions warn huge chunk of casual workforce could miss out on coronavirus wage subsidy

Original article by Euan Black
The New Daily – Page: Online : 31-Mar-20

Full-time and part-time workers will be eligible for the JobKeeper wage subsidy, as will casual workers who have been with the same employer for at least 12 months. However, ACTU secretary Sally McManus says the wage subsidy should be available to all casual workers, adding that it should be increased to $1,375 per week rather than $1,500 per fortnight. Gerard Dwyer, the national president of the Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees’ Association, also supports extending the payment to all casual workers, as well as visa workers.

CORPORATES
ACTU, SHOP, DISTRIBUTIVE AND ALLIED EMPLOYEES’ ASSOCIATION

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

Wage theft: Employer calls to reform award system are a bare-faced con job

Original article by Martijn Boersma
The New Daily – Page: Online : 23-Feb-20

PwC has estimated that Australian workers are underpaid $1.35 billion each year, with 13 per cent of the workforce impacted. In certain sectors, the figure increases to 21 per cent of workers. Companies that have been found to have underpaid staff are tending to blame the award system for the problem, contending that it is overly complicated. Employers and employer groups say that the system needs to be simplified, but what they are really want is to reduce the role of governments and unions in wage determination.

CORPORATES
PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS AUSTRALIA (INTERNATIONAL) PTY LTD, CALTEX AUSTRALIA LIMITED – ASX CTX, COLES GROUP LIMITED – ASX COL, SUPER RETAIL GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUL, WOOLWORTHS GROUP LIMITED – ASX WOW

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

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

Unions lean on ALP over super choice bill

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 7-Feb-20

The union movement is urging Labor to vote against proposed legislation that would ban enterprise agreements from stating that workers must join a union-backed superannuation fund. Labor senator Tony Sheldon recently warned the party’s caucus against voting for the bill, while ACTU assistant secretary Scott Connolly says the proposed legislation would have a major impact on industry funds such as UniSuper.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ACTU, UNISUPER LIMITED

ABCC defends focus on pursuing unions

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 4 : 23-Jan-20

Labor senator Tony Sheldon has accused the Australian Building & Construction Commission of unfairly targeting unions, while failing to give sufficient attention to the unlawful conduct of employers. Data from the ABCC shows that it has spent $3.179m on legal proceedings against unions, officials and employees since 2016, and just $164,336 on legal action against employers. The ABCC has successfully prosecuted the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy some 86 times over this period.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION COMMISSION, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Unions seek pay guarantees

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 5 : 17-Jan-20

Unions are proposing a new workplace condition that would see the pay of workers guaranteed if their employer has to shut down because of a bushfire or some other natural disaster. Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia CEO Peter Strong has attacked the idea as being "political and completely unworkable", although COSBOA has lent its support to a push by the ACTU to increase the federal government’s disaster recovery allowance for fire-impacted workers to the minimum wage.

CORPORATES
COUNCIL OF SMALL BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED,{SPAC}ACTU