31 Aug 2017 Ferado

Graincorp EBA bid crops out Australian Workers’ Union

GRAINCORP has snubbed the Australian Workers’ Union, taking a proposed enterprise bargaining agreement direct to its Victorian workers in a bid to end an industrial dispute before harvest.

GrainCorp gave its Victorian grain handlers a week to consider the proposal — which includes a 2 per cent pay rise each year for three years — before going to a vote in a secret ballot today and tomorrow.

A similar deal has been accepted by workers in Queensland and NSW, but the Victorian branch of the union refused to endorse the proposal, claiming it would allow increased and unfair hire of contract labour. The ballot comes more than 20 weeks after EBA negotiations began, and three weeks after the AWU started protected industrial action that allowed handlers to refuse overtime and to stagger breaks.

GrainCorp’s regional manager Peter Johnston said the proposed three-year deal represented a rollover of the current EBA, with the pay increase. “It was clear we’d reached an impasse (with the AWU) and this was the most efficient thing to do,” Mr Johnston said. He said he had met with three-quarters of the workforce and was confident the proposal would be accepted.

But AWU Victorian secretary Ben Davis believed workers would refuse GrainCorp’s deal. “The fact they’re not prepared to move on the labour hire is a deal-breaker. If they want labour hire they need to pay them the same way (as direct employees).”

31 Aug 2017 Ferado

Industry tip-off leads to Lockyer Valley farm raids

AUSTRALIA: DODGY farm labour practices in the Lockyer Valley have been targeted in a multi-agency operation.The Fair Work Ombudsman joined forces with Queensland Workplace Heath and Safety and police to lead the compliance operation targeting worker exploitation.The operation began after a tip-off within the farming industry.

The person made allegations that included potential underpayment of wages, workers being provided unsafe and very poor accommodation, unsafe drinking water, unregistered transport and workers being charged job find fees.

In response, a 12-person team of Fair Work inspectors, Work Health and Safety inspectors and police conducted unannounced visits to four vegetable farms over two days.

The Fair Work inspectors are currently auditing the farms’ employment records for July and August this year to check compliance with the Fair Work Act 2009 and Horticulture Award 2010.

As a result of the operation, the Fair Work Ombudsman started a number of investigations into potential breaches by several contractors.

Issues outside the Fair Work Ombudsman’s jurisdiction are being dealt with by the relevant regulators.

Ombudsman Natalie James said it was encouraging to see businesses taking a proactive interest in ensuring compliance within the horticulture sector.

“The fact that the industry itself is willing to bring forward allegations of suspected non-compliance is a positive sign,” Ms James said.

“Over a number of years my agency has undertaken activities aimed at shining a light on the dodgy labour practices and it is pleasing to see the industry take steps to stamp out these insidious practices.

“It is blatantly unfair for workers and it is unfair for responsible operators that are doing the right thing to have to compete with those who base their business models on unlawful activities.

“We are pleased to work alongside Queensland Workplace Health and Safety and the Queensland police in this operation to tackle the serious issues in this sector.

“It sends a strong message to crooked operators that we are on the case and will use our powers to enforce the law and disrupt their unlawful activities.”

Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94

30 Aug 2017 Ferado

THE Fair Work Commission has agreed to Murdoch University’s request to terminate its existing enterprise agreement (EA) with staff.

In a statement released this afternoon, National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) WA secretary Gabe Godding said the decision was disappointing but not unexpected.

“NTEU’s position has always been that Murdoch employees deserve fair and reasonable working conditions, consistent with those that apply elsewhere in the university sector,” she said.

“This decision will not change our bargaining position which is to achieve an agreement that provides efficiency gains without eliminating key rights or entitlements.”

Ms Gooding also criticised the $2.8 million Murdoch University spent on legal fees on bargaining, the case and actions against the union.

She said it was difficult to see how the university could justify the expense when it had used its $5 million operational deficit as part reason for the termination application.

From September 26, Murdoch University will be free to reduce wages by 25 to 39 per cent, cut redundancy entitlements, remove academic workload regulation, eliminate employer provided paid parental leave and remove the current requirement to consult staff before implementing workplace changes.

Ahead of the Fair Work Commission hearing, Murdoch University committed to maintaining staff wages and other benefits for six months if the existing EA was terminated.Speaking at the time, Murdoch University director of people and culture Michelle Narustrang said the existing EA was unnecessarily large and complex.

“Terminating our existing agreement will reset the clock and allow both parties to negotiate from a more workable starting point,” she said.

“We need an agreement that reduces administrative burden and allows us to manage our business more effectively.”

The NTEU and Murdoch University have been locked in negotiations over a new EA since April 2016 but have so far failed to reach an agreement.

Murdoch University subsequently applied to the Fair Work Commission to terminate the existing EA, which covers more than 3000 staff but has now expired.

29 Aug 2017 Ferado

Barriers to pay equality in Pakistan – The gender pay gap in the garment sector

This is a snapshot of the report that sets out to examine pay inequality in Pakistan and, in particular, in the country’s garment sector. The report has been undertaken by the ILO’s Labour Standards in Global Supply Chains: A Programme for Action in Asia and the Garment Sector, funded by GIZ and BMZ, on behalf of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Analysis of Pakistan’s Labour Force Surveys for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 show, even after adjustments to take into account differences in workers’ characteristics, a gender pay gap of 26 per cent across Pakistan’s workforce. However, in the garment sector, Pakistan’s largest manufacturing industry and a significant employer of women, it rises to 33 per cent. Cultural barriers and gender stereotypes valuing men as breadwinners and women as homemakers are prevalent. While this is changing in large urban centres, major obstacles to women entering the workforce persist. A major factor is the lack of safe, affordable and accessible transport facilities; these are only provided in some of the largest exporting enterprises. The lack of suitable, affordable childcare is also a major disincentive in a society that places the burden of child-rearing almost exclusively on women.

29 Aug 2017 Ferado

Indigo contract workers go on strike citing irregularities

Nagpur: Contract workers engaged with Indigo Airlines at Nagpur went on a day long strike alleging several irregularities including lack of proper wages, following which senior representatives of the contractor as well as the airlines rushed to Nagpur. The agitation was called off after the representatives gave a written undertaking that the issues will be resolved soon.
Over 100 workers have been engaged by Indigo Airlines through M/s Taurus Aviation, a private firm. They work as drivers and loaders. The daylong strike however, did not have any impact on the flights’ schedule.
The union representatives told TOI that the contract workers are being paid wages up to Rs8,500 a month which is too less by any standards. “This is nowhere close to minimum wages fixed by state or centre’s labour departments. There was no clarity whether we came under the central or state. Earlier the central authorities said the workers came under state labour department. It was because Mihan India Limited (MIL) which runs the organization is a state government agency. Finally an officer from the central labour department came down during the strike,” said Omesh Thakre, the union representative.
Many of the workers have been engaged since last 10 years, but several issues related to the employment conditions are yet to be addressed. The issue of wages will be settled through negotiations.
The letter signed by representatives of the contractor and Indigo Airlines also has a mention about issues related to bonus, name correction in PF records, as well as issuing of salary slip and appointment letter. The contractor’s representative said the appointment letter will be issued before August 20. The management also stated that the salary slips since April 2017 will also be issued first. After that slips for remaining four years will also be issued within next 20 days. An undertaking to correct the name sin PF records was also given.