Filed under: News

Ombudsman Takes Degani Franchise Operator To Court

The operator of a Degani café in Melbourne’s north-east is facing Court after he allegedly used false records to conceal more than $12,000 in underpayments of staff, including teenagers and overseas workers.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action in the Federal Circuit Court against Greenvale man Sajid Amin, who manages and part-owns the Degani outlet at Greensborough.

Also facing Court is a company Mr Amin is a director of, SHMAP Group Pty Ltd, which holds a franchise agreement for the outlet with Degani Bakery Café Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Degani Australia Pty Ltd.Continue reading

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CFMEU officials refuse to show entry permits, “I’m not dealing with a f—–g pen pusher”

A CFMEU march Photo: Amy Remeikis

Two union officials from the militant CFMEU have been found liable of breaching workplace laws. Both officials refused to show their right of entry permits when entering a work site and for swore at the person who asked to see them.

When the Bendigo Theatre Project site manager asked CFMEU officials Nigel Davies and Alex Tadic to show him their right of entry permits in July 2014, they refused.

The Federal Court of Australia heard that the site manager, Simon Ireland, told the pair they were welcome on the site if they showed him their permits, but if they did not, they would have to leave.Continue reading

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Wages growth is worse than the headlines claim

For once the headlines have been underplaying bad news. That stubbornly weak wage price index (WPI)? The reality is worse.

The Reserve Bank’s quarterly statement on monetary policy, released on Friday, highlights two broader and arguably better wages measures that are tracking lower than the low WPI.

Filed under: News

Thousands of NSW school cleaners have a win in fight for job security

Thousands of cleaners have won a fight for greater job security after being warned they would have to reapply for their jobs for the first time in 24 years.

The NSW Department of Finance Services and Innovation last year notified United Voice, the union representing the cleaners, that employment guarantees in place since 1994 “will not be extended in the new contracts from 2018”.

Following Fairfax Media reports on the issue, the NSW Government on Sunday said it would extend job guarantees to all permanent cleaners employed under the Whole of Government Facilities Management Contract.

It means existing cleaners will not have to reapply for their jobs if there is a change of cleaning supplier in their region.Continue reading

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Australian power prices worse than banana republics

Australia has power prices worse than a third world country, a global renewable energy guru says.

“For a country that has a very high standard of living, stable economic situation and tremendous opportunities, it makes no sense at all for the price of power to be more than a banana republic,” the Australian head of global renewable firm SunEnergy1, and part-time racecar driver, Kenny Habul said.

Speaking at the Bond Business Leaders Forum on the Gold Coast, Mr Habul said Australia needs to dramatically change its energy landscape in order to escape the energy price crisis, adding that there is a disconnect between Australian standards of living and electricity costs.

Mr Habul said will meet with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull later this month to discuss how to halt spiralling power costs and restore the nation’s electricity prices to normality.Continue reading

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Top 10 words in Australian LinkedIn profiles (and why they’re wrong)

Not long ago, LinkedIn, which must have missed the article where I called it a “quag of frauds, oversharers and time-wasters” sent me a list of the most commonly used words on  profiles of their Australian users.

They are as follows: experienced, specialise, passionate, skilled, leadership, motivated, expert, strategic, successful, creative. “Drive”, “outcomes” and “scale” must have been erroneously removed from the data.

If we assume “experienced” is used predominantly as a descriptor, that’s seven adjectives, one verb, one noun and an in-betweener (“expert”).

Now, if you’re a Benign to Five devotee, you’ll know I’m not shy about liberally scattering adjectives and adverbs across my column like truffles over a pasta dish. At first glance you think “There are too many! Surely they’ll overpower the dish. But on closer inspection … magnifico!Continue reading

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From tradies to teachers: The plan to ‘shake up Australia’s schools’

The Turnbull government wants to encourage tradies to become teachers, and nurses to swap the clinic for the classroom, under a plan to “shake up” the country’s schools.

A national review of teacher registration – to be announced Saturday – will look to streamline the process for becoming a teacher around Australia, with a view to making it easier for people in trades and other professions to switch careers.

At present, most states require teachers to attain at least a diploma of education, if not an undergraduate teaching degree – but it depends on what type of teacher someone seeks to become.Continue reading

Filed under: News

Coal class action on solid ground

LAW firm Chamberlains says its proposed casual mineworker class action is a genuine attempt to right a wrong in the coal industry, and not an effort to pressure money out of mining companies.

As reported on Friday, the Canberra law firm has been working with an injured former Mount Arthur mineworker, Simon Turner, and intends lodging a class action in the Federal Court over the use of casual labour at the BHP mine. Labour hire firms Chandler Macleod and Tesa are also named.

Mining sources downplayed the importance of the case, saying the firm was simply seeking free publicity with its claims.

Despite this, neither BHP nor the Minerals Council of NSW was prepared to comment on the validity of the law firm’s main claim – that enterprise agreements using casual employment are illegal because they conflict with the award, which recognises only full-time and part-time (but not casual) employment.Continue reading

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‘Some time’ before inflation, jobs reach their targets: RBA

The Reserve Bank of Australia said the economy was some way off full employment and inflation returning to the midpoint of its target, signalling policy will stay on hold.

Main takeaways

  • Reserve Bank of Australia leaves inflation and economic growth forecasts unchanged from three months earlier in quarterly Statement on Monetary Policy released on Friday
  • Forecast unemployment cut to 5.25 per cent for year ending June 2018 through to year ending June 2019, from 5.5 per cent seen three months earlier
  • Near-term growth outlook for major trading partners “is a little stronger” than seen in November; growth in China expected to “moderate a little” over coming year
  • Most of decline in mining investment has now passed, meaning resource sector should make positive contribution to GDP over next few years
  • Large pipeline of public infrastructure work to be done is supporting GDP growth as well as conditions in some parts of the private sector
  • Australian dollar bought 77.72 US cents at 11.40am in Sydney, from 77.85 US cents before the report’s release.

Continue reading

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Defence deal struck for Australian steel

Australian steel is tipped to play a key role in the country’s fledgling defence exports industry, with a deal being signed in the Illawarra region of NSW.

German defence technology firm Rheinmetall will team up with Bluescope Steel, which operates the Port Kembla steel works, to create a new military vehicle.

The armoured vehicles will be developed at a new “centre of excellence” west of Brisbane and if successful, will be sourced from 100 per cent Australian steel.

The first shipping of 15 tonnes of steel is bound for Germany for testing.

Rheinmetall director of strategy Tim Pickford said if successful, Bluescope would be the only supplier in the Southern Hemisphere to meet the “stringent” standards.

“There are only two companies in the world that we go to for high-hardness armour,” Mr Pickford said.

“We’ve continued to be nothing but impressed with the capability here in the Illawarra region, it’s a world beater.

“One of the problems is that because manufacturing’s kind of a dirty word at the moment, we don’t believe in ourselves, but I think the Australian steel team will put this place back on the map.”

Plans for a global military vehicle export hub

Mr Pickford said the plan was to supply the vehicles to the Australian Defence Force and for export.

“Europe is big for us, but let’s not forget South East Asia and what’s going on down here, and the requirement for renewal of military capabilities for this region,” he said.

“What we see Australia representing is a hub for export to not only this region but globally as well.”

The Port Kembla steel works has seen a significant turnaround since it was facing potential closure in 2015, and the new deal was being hailed as a long-term boost.

Bluescope Steel spokesman Troy Gent said it would help shore up local manufacturing jobs.

“We’ve been on a long road to make ourselves cost competitive,” Mr Gent said.

“We’ve taken huge costs out of the mill, and doing what we’ve done over the last three or four years has enabled us to compete in a space like this.”

Technology could have spin-offs: analyst

It came as the Federal Government embarks on an ambitious plan to make Australia among the top 10 defence exporters in the world.

Commodities analyst Peter Strachan said while he did not agree with the Government’s defence exports plan, the use of Australian steel in defence technology would bring wide-ranging benefits.

“It’s an area where there could be spinoffs in the technology to use the technology that’s developed for military hardware to actually do things that might be a little bit more sustainable,” Mr Strachan said.

“We used to have a proper steel industry in Australia from go and woe, but at the moment it’s more to do with specialty steel.

“It’s a shame that we have to be involved in military hardware, I’d rather be using our technology to build wind turbines or something that’s going to be sustainable long-term.”

Source (ABC): Defence deal struck for Australian steel