Watchdog to get tough over worker rip-offs

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 5 : 3-Jun-19

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker says the agency will make greater use of enforcement tools as part of its crackdown on employers that underpay their staff. Parker adds that businesses which self-report non-compliance to the FWO should also expected to face penalties, noting that there has been an increase in self-reporting in recent times. Meanwhile, Parker has identified sectors such as fast-food restaurants, cafes, horticulture and franchising as priorities for the FWO in 2019-20.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN

Coalition’s legacy of record low growth takes hit

Original article by Michael Roddan, Ewin Hannan
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 9 : 16-May-19

Official data shows that wages grew by 0.5 per cent in the March quarter and 2.3 per cent in the year to March. George Tharenou of UBS says the rate of growth in wages is not sufficient to put upward pressure on inflation. Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics says wages growth should have been higher given that the unemployment rate fell to an eight-year low in the quarter and the under-utilisation rate has fallen one per cent over the last year. ACTU secretary Sally McManus says Australia has recorded its lowest rate of wages growth since World War II under the Coalition.

CORPORATES
UBS HOLDINGS PTY LTD, CAPITAL ECONOMICS LIMITED, ACTU, AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS, JP MORGAN AUSTRALIA LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Wage theft: Labor takes on employers

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 15-May-19

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will use a speech in Perth on 15 May to announce that Labor will establish a small claims tribunal for people with unpaid wages if it wins the federal election. The tribunal, which will hear claims of up to $100,000, will be able to make and enforce orders to pay wages and to mediate claims. The tribunal will operate alongside the existing Fair Work Commission. Shorten will also use the speech to criticise the Coalition’s preferences deal with Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, UNITED AUSTRALIA PARTY, ONE NATION PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Aged care next for a pay rise from taxpayers

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 4 : 1-May-19

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says Labor has no plans to extend its taxpayer-funded pay rise for childcare workers to other low-paid sectors. He says the policy takes into account the "unique" status of childcare workers. However, Council on the Ageing CEO Ian Yates says increasing the wages of aged-care staff should also be a priority for Labor if it wins the election, noting that they are also underpaid and undertrained. Shorten has signalled that Labor could look at wage increases for these workers after the aged-care royal commission delivers its final report in April 2020.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, COUNCIL ON THE AGEING, AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO AGED CARE QUALITY AND SAFETY

Hopes for higher pay revised down

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: B8 : 3-Apr-19

The April 2019 Budget papers show that the federal government has scaled back its wage growth forecasts since the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook. It now expects wages to grow by 2.5 per cent in 2018-19 and 2.75 per cent in 2019-20. Wages growth in 2020-21 in turn is expected to be 3.25 per cent. In contrast, the Reserve Bank has forecast wages growth of about 2.5 per cent until 2020, and 2.6 per cent by mid-2021. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is forecast to be five per cent over the forward estimates period, while the labour participation rate is expected to ease to 65.5 per cent in 2018-19.

CORPORATES

Weaker unions not the problem

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 20-Mar-19

University of Sydney economist Stephen Kirchner contends that Australia’s low level of wages growth is not linked to the decline in union membership. In a paper that has been published by the US Studies Centre, Kirchner also disputes the ACTU’s claim that wages growth is no longer linked to productivity increases. Kirchner adds that the rise in house prices has been the major contributor to the decline in labour’s share of income over the long-term.

CORPORATES
UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY. UNITED STATES STUDIES CENTRE, ACTU, CENTRE FOR FUTURE WORK

Emissions target will cut wages, ACTU told

Original article by Joe Kelly, Greg Brown
The Australian – Page: 4 : 15-Mar-19

Unions have criticised Energy Minister Angus Taylor after he warned them of the potential impact of Labor’s greenhouse gas policy on wages. Taylor has written to unions claiming that wages could be reduced by $9,000 under Labor’s proposed 45 per cent emissions reduction target. The Electrical Trades Union has accused Taylor of "rank political opportunism" in targeting its members shortly before a federal election. Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says taxpayers’ funds should not be used to build new coal-fired power stations. He says this would result in less funding for infrastructure such as roads.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ELECTRICAL TRADES UNION, ACTU, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HOME AFFAIRS, GETUP LIMITED, BAECONOMICS PTY LTD, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA

Lowest paid being in richest 20pc of households blunts wage-lift case

Original article by Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 13-Mar-19

Analysis of data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey shows that 13.8 per cent of the nation’s lowest-paid workers are living in the wealthiest 20 per cent of households. In contrast, 13.6 per cent of people on the lowest incomes are living in the poorest 20 per cent of households. The director of the HILDA Survey, Professor Mark Wooden, notes that many people on low incomes are secondary earners working in small business or the self-employed, particularly in wealthier households. He has also questioned the merits of a ‘living wage’, as advocated by Labor leader Bill Shorten.

CORPORATES
UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE. INSTITUTE OF APPLIED ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Industrial umpire fair game for Labor wage push

Original article by Ben Packham
The Australian – Page: Online : 11-Mar-19

Opposition finance spokesman Jim Chalmers says Labor would "encourage" the Fair Work Commission to deliver a living wage for workers if it wins the next election. Finance Minister Mathias Cormann claims that Labor is guilty of falsehoods when it contends pushing up wages through the FWC would not lead to higher unemployment. The FWC is required by law to take into account various criteria when making its yearly minimum wage decisions; Labor has refused to state whether it would enact legislation to change this criteria, fearing an outcry from business.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF FINANCE, MINERAL COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA

Jail for employers exploiting workers

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 7 : 7-Mar-19

The federal goverment has expressed in-principle support for the 22 recommendations made in the report of the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce. The report found that many migrant workers are victims of wage exploitation, and recommended harsher penalties for underpayment. The government is set to announce criminal sanctions for "clear, deliberate and systemic" underpayment of works, despite opposition from employers’ groups. It also intends to establish a national labour-hire registration scheme covering industries where wage exploitation is widespread.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF JOBS AND SMALL BUSINESS, 7-ELEVEN STORES PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY