Wages growth Labor’s priority

Original article by Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 7 : 6-Dec-19

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers will urge the federal government to address issues such as low wages growth, underemployment and falling productivity in its mid-year economic outlook. He will tell a Chifley Research Centre conference that the economy is not working for ordinary Australians, while warning of the dangers associated with the rise of populism. Chalmers will also emphasise the need for Labor to reengage Australians in the ‘politics of progress’ in the wake of its election defeat in May.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, CHIFLEY RESEARCH CENTRE

Low interest rates aren’t enough to boost wages growth: Economists

Original article by Euan Black
The New Daily – Page: Online : 4-Dec-19

With official interest rates left unchanged at 0.75 per cent on 3 December, some economists contend that further rate cuts are necessary for the Reserve Bank to deliver on its employment and inflation targets. However, others argue that interest rates are already so low that further cuts will not do not much to stimulate the economy. Instead, they contend that wage increases are needed, and this in turn requires measures to boost labour productivity. Growth in productivity has averaged 1.1 per cent annually over the last five years, and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has estimated that lifting it to 1.5 per cent would boost incomes by $3,000 a year.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Unpaid wages bill at $1.4bn annually

Original article by Andrew White, Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 20-Nov-19

More than $500m worth of wage underpayments have been disclosed to date; however, modelling by accounting firm PwC suggests that in total, Australian workers may be underpaid by up to $1.35bn a year. The modelling, which is based on data from the Fair Work Ombudsman, shows that up to 13 per cent of all workers may be underpaid, with construction workers found to be most at risk of being underpaid. The federal government is considering the introduction of criminal penalties for wage theft, as well as an increase in civil penalties.

CORPORATES
PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS AUSTRALIA (INTERNATIONAL) PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, WOOLWORTHS GROUP LIMITED – ASX WOW, 7-ELEVEN STORES PTY LTD, SUPER RETAIL GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUL, MICHAEL HILL INTERNATIONAL LIMITED – ASX MHJ, AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT

ABC budgets $23m for underpaid staff

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 3 : 19-Nov-19

The ABC has declined to comment on the likely cost of recompensing casual staff who were underpaid, but insiders claim that at least one employee will receive more than $60,000. The public broadcaster’s latest annual report indicated that it has allocated $22.98m for compensating casual workers who have been underpaid for up to six years, but a spokesman says the final figure is likely to be less than this.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, COMMUNITY AND PUBLIC SECTOR UNION, MEDIA, ENTERTAINMENT AND ARTS ALLIANCE

IR class action costs ruling appealed

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 10 : 18-Nov-19

UK-based litigation funder Augusta Ventures will appeal a court ruling that it must pay security of costs up-front in a wage theft class action. The case centres on allegations that BHP and labour hire firms underpaid casual workers at the Mount Arthur coal mine. Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox warns that there is the potential for workers to receive nothing from a class action payout once a litigation funder has received its share. He has called for the sector to be subject to the same regulation as financial services providers.

CORPORATES
AUGUSTA VENTURES, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, ADERO LAW

‘We won’t be shy’: Company bosses could face Senate probe into wage theft

Original article by David Crowe, Rob Harris
The Age – Page: Online : 14-Nov-19

The Senate’s economics references committee will undertake an inquiry into the issue of wage and superannuation theft. Labor put forward the motion to hold an inquiry in response to recent wage underpayment scandals, although the federal government opposed it. Liberal senator Jonathon Duniam says the Coalition is taking action on the issue, and another ‘talkfest’ is not necessary. Shadow industrial relations minister Tony Burke has described the inquiry as a "win" for Australian workers.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON ECONOMICS, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, WOOLWORTHS GROUP LIMITED – ASX WOW, 7-ELEVEN STORES PTY LTD, CENTRE ALLIANCE, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN

Soft growth in wages points to sluggish economy

Original article by
The Australian – Page: 27 : 14-Nov-19

Official data shows that wages grew by 0.5 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms in the September quarter, and by 2.2 per cent year-on-year. This compares with growth of 0.6 per cent in the June quarter and 2.3 per cent in the year to June. Wages in the public sector increased by 2.5 per cent in the year to September, while private sector wages increased by 2.2 per cent. Sarah Hunter of BIS Oxford Economics says that given the state of the economy, a significant uptick in wages is unlikely in the near-term.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS, BIS OXFORD ECONOMICS PTY LTD, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, INDEED INCORPORATED

Australia’s top 10 most trusted brands in 2019

Original article by Isabelle Lane
The New Daily – Page: Online : 13-Nov-19

Five of the 10 most-trusted brands in Australia, as measured by Roy Morgan, have been embroiled in wage underpayment scandals in recent years. They include the nation’s most trusted brand, Bunnings, as well as Woolworths, Coles, Qantas and the ABC. RMIT University’s Professor Anthony Forsyth rejects suggestions that the wage theft scandals can be attributed to Australia’s complex industrial awards system; instead, he contends that businesses are simply not giving sufficient priority to ensuring that their employees are being paid properly.

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED, BUNNINGS GROUP LIMITED, WOOLWORTHS SUPERMARKETS, COLES SUPERMARKETS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, QANTAS AIRWAYS LIMITED – ASX QAN, AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, RMIT UNIVERSITY

Pay falls as non-union agreements rise

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

Wage increases in new private sector agreements fell from 2.9 per cent to 2.8 per cent in the June quarter, according to data from the Attorney-General’s Department, while public sector agreement pay rises grew from 2.4 per cent to 2.6 per cent. The number of non-union agreements increased by 60 per cent between the March and June quarters, and Centre for Future Work economist Alison Pennington says it is possible that non-union agreements could rise as a proportion of all approved agreements from 22 per cent to 27 per cent by the end of 2019.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT, THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE LIMITED. CENTRE FOR FUTURE WORK

Underpay bosses face bans

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 7-Nov-19

Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter says the first responsibility of an employer is to ensure that their staff are being paid fairly. Porter has flagged the possibility of making company directors liable for wage theft by banning them from future directorships, although he adds that such legislation is unlikely to be retrospective. Porter also says there is merit in a proposal to allow the Fair Work Commission to hear claims for underpayment by individual workers, as suggested by ACTU secretary Sally McManus.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF EMPLOYMENT, SKILLS, SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT, ACTU, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN