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Employers propose cryonic pay suspension for the poor
Tuesday, 28 May 2013 10:06
Media Release 28 May 2013
Employers propose cryonic pay suspension for the poor
UnionsWA has commented on the start today of proceedings before the WA Industrial Relations Commission for the State Wage case. The case determines wages for more than 100,000 working West Australians, including through the Minimum Wage which applies to an estimated 20,000 unincorporated employing small businesses as well as employees covered by WA State Awards, many of which are low-waged.
Meredith Hammat, Secretary, UnionsWA said:
“Employers want to conduct an experiment in cryonic suspension with a pay freeze leaving WA’s lowest paid suspended in poverty.
“The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA will today try to justify their claim for a pay freeze for the lowest paid in WA, even though they acknowledge that our economy has been growing and they predict it will continue to grow in the years ahead.
“It is just not possible to live with any decency on a low wage that is frozen in time. Over the past ten years the median unit rent in WA has gone from costing 30% of the weekly minimum wage to now consuming two-thirds.
“Increases in the minimum wage have not kept pace with WA’s high essential costs of living.  WA already has the biggest gap between rich and poor of any State or Territory in Australia.”
Professor Rowena Barrett, small firm researcher and Head of the School of Management at Edith Cowan University, has made a witness statement based on research on the impact on small businesses of Minimum Wages.
“The evidence submitted by Professor Barrett highlights that even very small businesses can adapt to pay rises and the minimum wage doesn't lead to fewer jobs but mean greater income equality, in particular closing the gender wage gap.”
Sources
Proceedings for the WA Wage Case will be broadcast live online today, Tuesday 28 May 2013 from 10.00 am at: http://www.wairc.wa.gov.au/Pages/WageCase/2013StateWageCaseStream.aspx . Submissions to the WA State Wage case are now publicly available at http://www.wairc.wa.gov.au/WageCase/SWC2013/
Meredith Hammat is available for comment.
For more information contact: Philip O’Donoghue 0417 923 029 or podonoghue@unionswa.com.au

UnionsWA has commented on the start today of proceedings before the WA Industrial Relations Commission for the State Wage case. The case determines wages for more than 100,000 working West Australians,

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Secure Jobs and Life Campaign Launch
Monday, 06 May 2013 11:03
Secure Jobs and Life Campaign Launch
Following the May Day Parade and Fair in Fremantle, UnionsWA today announced details of its Secure Jobs and Life campaign for the September federal election and beyond.
Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA said:
“The impact on family and health of insecure jobs and long and irregular hours of work will be a major focus for WA unions for the September federal election and beyond.
“Insecure jobs crowd out life as people have financial fears and are forced to work unpredictable and irregular hours.
“Tony Abbott wants to cut penalty rates meaning work will further invade the weekends and night time for working people.  The low paid will be even worse off.
“Privatisation and out-sourcing means poorer services and less accountability as well as job insecurity for poorly paid carers and other service providers.
“Having privatised the Commonwealth Employment Services when he was a Minister, Tony Abbott has form when it comes to privatisation.  While at the Cabinet table he agreed to WorkChoices.
“Employers and government need to understand that we work to live, not live to work.
“West Australians work hard, based on recent figures from the ABS it is estimated that 90,000 West Australians work overtime without being paid.
“Compared with OECD countries, Australia has the highest average full-time working hours for employees at 44 hours per week while about 129 million days of annual leave are untaken.
“According to the ABS there are currently 227,000 WA working people without holiday or sick leave entitlements at all.  Around half of these are independent contractors.
“Where workers have no access to annual leave or people aren't able to take their leave, tourist and hospitality industries in places like Fremantle, are hit hard.
“Our grassroots campaign will involve unions talking to their members, encouraging them to think about who will deliver secure jobs and income and a fair go for a life outside of work.”
Meredith Hammat is available for comment.
For more information contact: Philip O’Donoghue 0417 923 029 or podonoghue@unionswa.com.au

Following the May Day Parade and Fair in Fremantle, UnionsWA today announced details of its Secure Jobs and Life campaign for the September federal election and beyond.

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Memorial Day focus on mental health, work and rising WA suicides
Monday, 29 April 2013 11:53
Media Release             29 April 2013
Memorial Day focus on mental health, work and rising WA suicides
On Workers’ Memorial Day, which commemorates those who have been killed or injured through work, UnionsWA has joined with Lifeline WA to call for a greater effort by workplaces to improve mental health and reduce the rising rate of suicides in WA.
Meredith Hammat, UnionsWA Secretary, said:
“Work related fatalities mean that once every three weeks a West Australian leaves for work never to return home.
“Workers’ Memorial Day is a solemn occasion, every life matters, but this year we particularly remember those who are often forgotten or not talked about – those who have taken their own life.
“The most recent data from the ABS has found that while Australia-wide rates of suicide have fallen, in WA the figures are rising.  There are many factors that contribute to suicide, particularly poor mental health which can be made worse as a result of workplace stress, bullying or unsociable hours of work and related loss of time with family.
“Governments, employers, unions and community groups can and should work together to put solutions in place.”
Lifeline WA CEO, Fiona Kalaf said:
“We are calling on employers and employees to be aware of mental wellbeing in the workplace.
“In any twelve month period, around one in five people will experience a mental illness and many more will experience some form of emotional crisis.
“While these episodes may not necessarily be caused by the work environment, people will carry them into the workplace.
“By talking openly about emotional wellbeing and by providing ways for employees to connect with appropriate care, we can go a long way together in reducing the stigma formerly associated with mental illness and suicide risk.”
Meredith Hammat is available for comment by contacting Philip O’Donoghue on 0417 923 029 or podonoghue@unionswa.com.au.
Lifeline WA CEO, Fiona Kalaf is available for comment by contacting Melissa Howie 0438 997 560 or MelissaHowie@lifelinewa.org.au.
Sources:
Notifiable Fatalities Monthly Report, November 2012, SafeWork Australia.
3309.0 - Suicides, Australia, 2010
http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/latestProducts/3309.0Media%20Release12010
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call Lifeline (13 11 14), Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467) or Kids Helpline (for young people aged 5 to 25 years) (1800 551 800)
A guide to media reporting of suicide is available at: http://www.mindframe-media.info/for-media/reporting-suicide/quick-guide

On Workers’ Memorial Day, which commemorates those who have been killed or injured through work, UnionsWA has joined with Lifeline WA to call for a greater effort by workplaces to improve mental health and reduce the rising rate of suicides in WA.


Meredith Hammat, UnionsWA Secretary, said:

“Work related fatalities mean that once every three weeks a West Australian leaves for work never to return home.

“Workers’ Memorial Day is a solemn occasion, every life matters, but this year we particularly remember those who are often forgotten or not talked about – those who have taken their own life.

“The most recent data from the ABS has found that while Australia-wide rates of suicide have fallen, in WA the figures are rising.  There are many factors that contribute to suicide, particularly poor mental health which can be made worse as a result of workplace stress, bullying or unsociable hours of work and related loss of time with family.

“Governments, employers, unions and community groups can and should work together to put solutions in place.”


Lifeline WA CEO, Fiona Kalaf said:

“We are calling on employers and employees to be aware of mental wellbeing in the workplace. 

“In any twelve month period, around one in five people will experience a mental illness and many more will experience some form of emotional crisis. 

“While these episodes may not necessarily be caused by the work environment, people will carry them into the workplace. 

“By talking openly about emotional wellbeing and by providing ways for employees to connect with appropriate care, we can go a long way together in reducing the stigma formerly associated with mental illness and suicide risk.”


Meredith Hammat is available for comment
Lifeline WA CEO, Fiona Kalaf is available for comment. 

Sources:
Notifiable Fatalities Monthly Report, November 2012, SafeWork Australia.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call Lifeline (13 11 14), Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467) or Kids Helpline (for young people aged 5 to 25 years) (1800 551 800) 

A guide to media reporting of suicide is available at: Mindframe Media Guide

pdf 290413_Memorial_day_focus_on_mental_health_work_and_suicide.pdf 200.19 Kb 

 
Barnett promise: ¼ mil lowest paid to fall further behind while costs rise
Friday, 08 March 2013 09:50
Media Release           8 March 2013
Barnett promise: ¼ mil lowest paid to fall further behind while costs rise
UnionsWA today released its detailed criticism of the Barnett Government’s draft industrial relations legislation and highlighted how proposed changes will lead to a weaker minimum wage system and poorer wage outcomes in the face of rising costs of living.  More than a quarter of a million of the lowest paid rely on the WA Minimum Wage and linked State Awards.  The Bill also proposes to make it easier for employers to make deductions from pays.
Meredith Hammat, Acting Secretary of UnionsWA said:
“Under Barnett’s proposed industrial relations Bill those already poorly paid will fall further behind while costs of living continue to rise.
“More than a quarter of a million West Australians will get poorer Minimum Wages and State Awards.
“Barnett also goes to the WA election proposing to give more powers to employers to make deductions from pay.
“Barnett has previously opposed penalty rates for low paid hospitality and retail workers and has moved WA towards the weakest health and safety laws in Australia.
“Barnett has claimed that the Bill will align WA’s workplace relations laws with the rest of Australia, which is not true.
“In the WA Parliament on 14 November, 2012 Barnett said of this Bill, quote: “no-one will be worse off under this legislation; I can guarantee that”.
“This Bill breaks that promise.
“The Barnett Government’s Green Bill on industrial relations was introduced in the dying days of 2012.
“If he’s real, then he also needs to reject the minimum wage and pay deduction changes of his Bill.
“By the slight of many hands, the WA Minimum Wage will be eroded over time.
“Proposed new criteria will make the ‘capacity to pay’ of very small businesses an important factor in determining wage increases. High and rising costs of living are a fact of life for all working people in WA.
“Further, the WA Industrial Relations Commission may not even hold hearings for minimum wage cases.
“While Federal laws that replaced Work Choices allowed for the unfair pay of women and men to begin to be addressed, this Bill will do nothing about the large and growing gender pay gap in WA, the worst in Australia.
“At the same time as weakening the conditions of the lowest paid in WA, the Bill will restrict the access of working people to the advocacy and whistle-blower role of unions.”
Further information:
The current WA state minimum wage is $627.70 per week.
Quotation from Premier Barnett - Page 8554 of the 14 November Assembly Hansard:
The UnionsWA ‘Response of UnionsWA to the proposed Labour Relations Legislation Amendment and Repeal Bill 2012’ (March 2013) is available upon request.
Meredith Hammat is available for comment.
For more information contact: Philip O’Donoghue 0417 923 029 or podonoghue@unionswa.com.au

UnionsWA today released its detailed criticism of the Barnett Government’s draft industrial relations legislation and highlighted how proposed changes will lead to a weaker minimum wage system and poorer wage outcomes in the face of rising costs of living.

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New Data: Key trades training down in WA
Friday, 01 March 2013 11:56
Media Statement     6 March 2012
New Data: Key trades training down in WA
UnionsWA commented on today’s release by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) of data that shows that in the key trades training areas of automotive, engineering and construction WA now has 2,200 fewer apprentices in-training than four years ago.  .
Meredith Hammat, Acting Secretary UnionsWA said:
“According to recent data from the National Centre for Vocational Education and Research, compared with when the Barnett Government came to office in 2008 we now have 2,200 fewer people in training for automotive, engineering and construction jobs.
“The message by unions to employers and governments that more need to be done to train and employ young people for skilled jobs has been vindicated by these statistics.
“While overall the numbers of people in low-skilled and short training course has risen, we’re going backwards in meeting the high skill needs of industry and future job security.
“With all machinery and vehicles that need to be maintained as well as construction work going on in WA you’d expect more training in these critical areas.
“In these economically critical skilled trades in the automotive and engineering fields the proportion of the workforce in trade apprenticeships has fallen from 18.3% in 2008 to 12.7% in 2012 and in construction from 23.7% to 19.8%.
“If employers and governments don’t take on apprentices to build highly skilled workforce we will forever be at the mercy of lazy employers who just want to give such jobs to temporary migrant labour.”
WA:  In-training as at the end of each quarter by selected training characteristics, Sept 2008–12 ('000)
Sept. 2008 Sept. 2009 Sept. 2010 Sept. 2011 Sept. 2012
Technicians and trades workers 23.4 22.0 21.9 22.4 24.0
32 - Automotive and engineering 8.6 7.6 6.9 7.3 7.8
33 - Construction trades workers 5.2 4.6 4.5 4.1 3.8
Proportion of total workforce in-training
September 2008 to 2012, WA
Sept. 2008 Sept. 2009 Sept. 2010 Sept. 2011 Sept. 2012
Technicians and trades workers 13.5% 13.4% 12.8% 13.5% 12.5%
32 - Automotive and engineering 18.3% 15.1% 13.9% 14.6% 12.7%
33 - Construction trades workers 23.7% 21.7% 18.8% 17.9% 19.8%
Sources:
Australian vocational education and training statistics: apprentices and trainees 2012 - September quarter, National Centre for Vocational Education Research http://www.ncver.edu.au/publications/2604.html. Note: figures included here are sourced from spread sheets found under ‘Data’; ‘State and territory data tables’ (you may have to register – it is free); ‘WA’ tab; ‘Table 9 WA:  In-training as at the end of each quarter by selected training characteristics, 2007–12 ('000)’
Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly, Nov 2012, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/PrimaryMainFeatures/6291.0.55.003?OpenDocument
Note: Figures for training rates apply the standard measure of number in-training (see above) as a proportion of total workforce (ABS).  Total workforce figures are available under: ‘Downloads’;
datacube ‘E08_aug96 - Employed Persons by Sex, Occupation, State, Status in Employment, August 1996 onwards’; Click on SRD to open the ‘Supertable’ file.
Meredith Hammat is available for comment.
For more information contact: Philip O’Donoghue 0417 923 029 or podonoghue@unionswa.com.au

UnionsWA commented on today’s release by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) of data that shows that in the key trades training areas of automotive, engineering and construction WA now has 2,200 fewer apprentices in-training than four years ago.  

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WA women earn $470 pw less than men, worst in Australia
Thursday, 21 February 2013 10:21
Media Release      21 February 2013
WA women earn $470 pw less than men, worst in Australia
UnionsWA has commented on the release today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics of data measuring the gap in earnings between women and men nationally as well as in WA.
Meredith Hammat, Acting Secretary, UnionsWA said:
“Today’s ABS release has the gender pay gap in WA the worst in Australia. On average women in WA earn $469 per week or $24,393 a year less than men.
“This is far worse than the gender pay gap across Australia with women earning $262 per week or $14,000 a year less than men nationally.
“WA is going backwards, the gap is actually getting worse, not better.
“In November 2009 the earnings of men were 24.1% higher than women, now those earnings are 26.9% higher.
“The costs of living in WA are high and rising, so that makes this difference all that more stressful.
“For women to be earning so much less is not good for workplaces, or for relationships between women and men at home or in the community.
“To bridge this gap, we need to do more, especially in WA.
“Employers need to improve their recruitment practices, particularly for women who want to work in non-traditional occupations such as those in the resources sector.
“In traditional occupations held by women such as in health and community services, the pay needs to be better.
“The success of the Australian Services Union in its pay equity case under the Fair Work Act will do much to redress poor pay of community sector workers.
“Our industrial relations system has an important role.
“The introduction by the Federal Government of the paid maternity leave scheme and the proposed new right to request flexible work arrangements such as part time work, are examples of how women can be supported to remain in the workforce.
“We also need to make work more secure. Casual and after-hours work loadings have a role, but security of work and flexible arrangements for work are a better way to go, especially for women.”
Source: ABS release 6302.0 - Average Weekly Earnings, Australia, Nov 2012 http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6302.0Nov%202012?OpenDocument Note: Annual earnings have been calculated by multiplying averaged weekly earnings by 52.  Ordinary weekly earnings for women in WA were estimated at $1,278 and for men at $1,747 in November, 2012.
Meredith Hammat is available for comment.
For more information contact: Philip O’Donoghue 0417 923 029 or podonoghue@unionswa.com.au

UnionsWA has commented on the release today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics of data measuring the gap in earnings between women and men nationally as well as in WA.
Meredith Hammat, Acting Secretary, UnionsWA said:

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Slip, slap, slop not just for kids
Tuesday, 12 February 2013 12:47

In the midst of yet another heat wave, Cancer Council WA and UnionsWA today warned that those who work outdoors daily – almost half a million West Australians – and their employers need to ensure proper protection from the sun.
Cancer Council WA Director of Education and Research, Terry Slevin said:

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Tradies and lecturers expose TAFE cuts
Wednesday, 30 January 2013 00:00
MEDIA RELEASE   30 January 2013
Tradies and lecturers expose TAFE cuts
The State School Teachers’ Union of WA, representing TAFE lecturers and the WA Jobs from WA Resources group today released new figures detailing $50 million in TAFE funding cuts since the Barnett Government came to office.  TAFE lecturers and tradies will be handing out flyers at public transport stations and depots across Perth on Wednesday 30 January to highlight concerns in the lead up to the WA state election.
Pat Byrne, Vice President of the State School Teachers’ Union of WA said:
“Since coming to office the Barnett Government has reduced TAFE funding by $50 million.
“Polytechnic West covering eastern metropolitan Perth including Midlands and Gosnells has had funding cut by $11.5 million.
“Over the same period private training providers have had their funding increased by more than $50 million.
“The trend towards privatisation is clear.
“New systems for spending of Commonwealth training money must be decided upon by the WA Government. Before the election Barnett and McGowan should come clean about what they propose.
“Privatising TAFE means higher fees, fewer TAFE courses, campus closures and, ultimately, poorer workforce skills.
Steve McCartney, a fitter by trade, and spokesperson for WA Jobs from WA Resources as well as Secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union said:
“Larger and especially smaller engineering companies are folding as they wait for Simon O’Brien’s failed ten-point plan for local content to work.
“These companies can’t put on apprentices due to a lack of work, meaning that we have thousands of young people who are unable to get or complete an apprenticeship.
“Failing to address the local content and TAFE funding problems in WA is denying our kids an education, a job and a future.
“Private training providers focus on improving their profits, often by cutting corners and costs which lower training standards.  They tend to market short and low skill courses.
“The AMWU supports TAFE and putting more funding into the valuable outcomes they deliver for our kids.”
Pat Byrne and Steve McCartney are available for comment.
Further information:
Details of TAFE funding cuts are sourced from answers provided by Minister Collier to Parliamentary Question LC6330.
See www.TAFE4ALLWA.org.au
For more information contact: Philip O’Donoghue 0417 923 029 or podonoghue@unionswa.com.au

The State School Teachers’ Union of WA, representing TAFE lecturers and the WA Jobs from WA Resources group today released new figures detailing $50 million in TAFE funding cuts since the Barnett Government came to office.

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Retail up, down or steady: no reason for pay cut
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 16:55
Media Release       9 January 2013
Retail up, down or steady: no reason for pay cut
UnionsWA has commented on today’s release by the ABS of retail figures for WA and issued related data from the ABS on the seasonal fall in earnings for private sector workers.  UnionsWA has called on employers to cancel their campaign for pay cuts for retail and hospitality workers.
Meredith Hammat, Acting Secretary UnionsWA said:
“Today’s ABS data on the retail sector in WA shows that after more than three years of continuous growth, the sector is stable.  Retailers have won Sunday trading yet continue to campaign to cut the wages of low paid retail and hospitality workers by seeking to abolish penalty rates.
“This week the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA released its Survey of Business Expectations predicting harsh economic times in the future and reporting that employers nominate wages costs and staff turnover as their first and fourth greatest pressures.
“Employer groups seem to want to cut pay whether the economy is good or bad, and wish for a magic pudding where they can cut pay while improving staff retention!
“Now is a good time to take a reality-check on the employer campaign to abolish penalty rates.
“The extra income from penalty rates earned during the pre-Christmas rush and New Year sales are, right now, important for low paid retail and hospitality workers so they can get through January when there is less work.
“Many workers are casual and don’t get holiday pay.
“ABS data shows that WA private sector employee earnings declined on average by $107 per month from November 2011 to February 2012.  During other times of the year earnings typically rise slightly to keep pace with costs of living.
“Of course it’s hard for businesses to meet some challenges such as online retail.
“A focus on higher skills and more secure work and pay are likely to deliver a workforce that has strong customer services skills.
“But it’s hard to have confidence if the only response from some employer groups is to cut wages for the low paid at a time of rising costs of living in WA.”
Meredith Hammat is available for comment.
For more information contact: Philip O’Donoghue 0417 923 029 or podonoghue@unionswa.com.au
Sources:
Australian Bureau of Statistics (8501.0 Retail Trade, Australia, November 2012) http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/8501.0?OpenDocument
Australian Bureau of Statistics (6302.0 Average Weekly Earnings, Australia, May 2012) for full time, adult; total earnings (i.e. including any paid overtime) in WA for private sector employees.
Survey of Business Expectations, December 2012, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA  http://www.cciwa.com/docs/economics/sbe-survey-december-2012.pdf

UnionsWA has commented on today’s release by the ABS of retail figures for WA and issued related data from the ABS on the seasonal fall in earnings for private sector workers.  UnionsWA has called on employers to cancel their campaign for pay cuts for retail and hospitality workers.

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Australia and Asia’s asbestos epidemic
Monday, 26 November 2012 09:21

Marking the beginning of Asbestos Awareness Week, UnionsWA today welcomed to WA an international anti-asbestos delegation of health and safety union advocates and warned that the epidemic of asbestos relates diseases in Asia also poses a risk to growing numbers of Australians and West Australians who visit the region.

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Wednesday 21 November – Go home on time Day
Wednesday, 21 November 2012 11:03
Media Release  20 November 2012
Wednesday 21 November –
Go home on time Day
Staff at UnionsWA today waved placards at homeward-bound traffic on the Narrows Bridge to urge West Australians to go home on time.  Go home on time Day is an annual event co-ordinated by The Australia Institute and supported by the ACTU and beyondblue, with the aim of starting a national conversation about work-life balance.
Meredith Hammat, Acting Secretary UnionsWA said:
“I’m going home on time tomorrow to spend more time with my husband and children.”
Tim Dymond, UnionsWA Research and Industrial Officer said:
“I’m going to use the time to catalogue my comic collection.”
Madeleine Holme, Campaign Office said:
“I’m going to put my new running shoes to use at the gym then catch up with some mates at the pub.”
UnionsWA Media Officer, Philip O’Donoghue said:
“It’s takeaway and TV for me.”
Meredith Hammat, Acting Secretary UnionsWA said:
“OK there is a serious side to this.
“Each year, Australians work more than 2 billion hours of unpaid overtime, which is the equivalent of a $72 billion ‘gift’ to employers.
“Recent research by The Australia Institute has found that working hours are often unpredictable with around one in five Australians reporting that they have little or no idea what time they will finish work on any particular day.
“Mental Ill-health is a growing problem, made worse by untaken annual leave, insecure and unpredictable work and very long hours of work on average compared with other OECD countries.
“Frankly, we should get a life.”
Meredith Hammat is available for comment.
For more information contact: Philip O’Donoghue 0417 923 029 or podonoghue@unionswa.com.au
Key Facts:
• Compared with other OECD countries, Australia has the highest average full-time working hours for employees at 44 hours per week. (Source: Workplace Research Centre at The University of Sydney, October 2008. http://www.workplace.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/7FD73B96-DFDA-42B8-A563-9968EC1E55D3/0/111WanrooyBuchananCampbell.pdf)
• Australian workers have about 129 million days of untaken annual leave (Source: Roy Morgan Research http://info.noleavenolife.com).
• Workplace stress is costing the Australian economy $14.81 billion a year with a direct cost to employers of $10.11 billion a year.  3.2 days per worker are lost each year through workplace stress.  (Source: Medibank  http://www.medibank.com.au/client/documents/pdfs/the-cost-of-workplace-stress.pdf)
• Comparing suicide rates from 2001-2005 with 2006-2010, the ABS has found that Australia-wide these have fallen, however rates have increased in WA. 3309.0 - Suicides, Australia, 2010 http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/latestProducts/3309.0Media%20Release12010
Find out more about Go Home On Time Day 2012 at http://www.gohomeontimeday.org.au, and download and print a poster for your workplace.

Staff at UnionsWA today waved placards at homeward-bound traffic on the Narrows Bridge to urge West Australians to go home on time.  Go home on time Day is an annual event co-ordinated by The Australia Institute and supported by the ACTU and beyondblue, with the aim of starting a national conversation about work-life balance.

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Premier’s new office opens:“Let them eat cake”
Tuesday, 30 October 2012 00:00
Premier’s new office opens:
“Let them eat cake”
Representatives from public sector unions today attended the opening of Premier Barnett’s new office to question the priorities of his Government.
Meredith Hammat, Acting Secretary UnionsWA said:
“Premier Barnett’s attitude towards ordinary West Australians seem to be “let them eat cake” so we’re presenting him with a gift for his new office, a cake in the shape of a Perth rail car.
“This is to remind him that for the estimated $26 million spent on this new office it would have been possible to purchase two three car rail sets.
“That would have meant less congestion on trains, taken cars off our roads and reduced Perth’s chronic traffic jams.
“There is a long list of other priorities that better reflect the needs of Western Australia.
“Our hospitals have been privatised, there are not enough child protection workers, housing and electricity costs have soared.
“Premier Barnett has just cut the public sector by a further one and a half thousand staff while our population has grown by seventy-three thousand in the past year.
“Yet he finds plenty of public money for building projects in the inner city including $400 million towards the Elizabeth Quay and $1.2 billion on the Burswood stadium as well his new office.
“The priorities of the Barnett Government are wrong.”

Representatives from public sector unions today attended the opening of Premier Barnett’s new office to question the priorities of his Government.

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Skilled jobs at risk warn TAFE lecturers and manufacturing workers
Wednesday, 24 October 2012 00:00
Skilled jobs at risk warn TAFE lecturers and manufacturing workers
Unions representing TAFE lecturers and manufacturing workers have jointly called for urgent action to ensure that the loss of quality skills training and skilled jobs is reversed.  They have called on the WA Parliament to support the passage of the Skilled Jobs (Benefits from the Boom) Bill 2012, speeches for which commenced in the WA Parliament today.
Anne Gisborne, President, State School Teachers’ Union of WA said:
“The need to act on up-skilling the workforce in WA while supporting the expansion of quality TAFE training is now urgent.
“The WA Government is getting around $4billion a year in mining royalties, more than twice what it was getting when it came to office. But that opportunity is being squandered.
“In the past week we’ve seen rorts in the privatised health sector and school building sub-contractors ripped-off.
“When are we going to learn that public provision of many core services, and skills training among these, is better off in public hands?
“Frankly, when you put a profit motive on many services the outcome is a loss of quality and rip-offs.
“That is what is happening in TAFE in Victoria, and the Government in WA is considering similar measures here but won’t come clean.  The fear is that this is because of the looming State election.
“We need Government action on both sides of the equation – delivery of skilled jobs and quality skills training in WA.
Steve McCartney, Secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union said:
“We want Parliament to pass this Bill so we can ensure that major resource projects are held to account for their use of local fabricators and taking on apprentices and trainees.
“It’s about being transparent about how those profiting from publicly owned resources ensure a lasting benefit to WA’s economy and community.
“Too often resource companies source from overseas what can be manufactured here. They turn first to overseas labour when they should be training more locals.
“According to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research we now have in WA 2,300 fewer apprentices in training in engineering, automotive and construction trades than we did four years ago.
“With all the construction work as well as the machinery and vehicles that need to be maintained you’d expect more training in those critical areas. But in fact we are going backwards.”
Steve McCartney, Secretary of the Australian Metal Workers Union and Anne Gisborne, President, State School Teachers’ Union of WA, are available for comment.

Unions representing TAFE lecturers and manufacturing workers have jointly called for urgent action to ensure that the loss of quality skills training and skilled jobs is reversed.  They have called on the WA Parliament to support the passage of the Skilled Jobs (Benefits from the Boom) Bill 2012, speeches for which commenced in the WA Parliament today.

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Swan brewery closure and redundancies
Thursday, 18 October 2012 09:58

On behalf of affected workers and their unions, UnionsWA today commented on the announced closure of the Swan Brewery.

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Campaign targets Barnett’s Bad Decisions
Sunday, 14 October 2012 00:00
Media Release       14 October 2012
Campaign targets Barnett’s Bad Decisions
The Save Our Services campaign today launched new TV advertisements that target the bad decisions and wrong priorities of the Barnett Government.
Meredith Hammat, President UnionsWA said:
“Frankly the Barnett Government has got its priorities wrong and has made one bad decision after another.
“Premier Barnett finds big money for building projects in the inner city while failing to invest in suburban transport.
“He’s getting around $4 billion a year from mining royalties while increasing electricity prices by more than 62%.
“Premier Barnett has just cut the public sector by a further one and a half thousand staff while our population has grown by seventy-three thousand in the past year.
“And the list goes on, our hospitals have been privatised, there are not enough child protection workers, rents and housing costs have soured.
“Resource booms come and go, the important questions are: where has all the money gone? What have we gotten from the boom?
“We’ve certainly been left with big buildings, big traffic jams and high costs of living.
“These advertisements are a message to Premier Barnett: change your priorities, overturn your bad decisions.
“In the past Premier Barnett has arrogantly dismiss campaigns on behalf of working people by unions.
“Working people deserve to be heard about the decisions that affect them – their costs of living and the services they and their families need.  Government-paid and corporate advertising shouldn’t be the only voices in public debate.”
Low resolution downloads of the advertisements and further information are available from www.saveourservices.com.au.  High resolution versions are available upon request.
On twitter see also #barnettbads and @SaveWAServcies.
Meredith Hammat is available for comment.
For more information contact: Philip O’Donoghue 0417 923 029 or podonoghue@unionswa.com.au
The Save Our Services campaign today launched new TV advertisements that target the bad decisions and wrong priorities of the Barnett Government.
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Wrong priorities for budget
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 16:17
Wrong priorities for budget
UnionsWA today commented on the State Government announcement that it will reduce the public sector workforce by 1,500.
Meredith Hammat, President UnionsWA said:
“Today’s Budget statement highlights that not enough was made of the resources boom.
“Public services are paying the price for wrong priorities and bad decisions.
“Too much public money is being spent on major building projects in and around the CBD.
“It is folly to park public money into a Future Fund.
“WA needs investment in services such as the dental school program, public transport to reduce traffic congestion and mental health services among others.
“Instead the Government is cutting the public sector workforce by 1,500 while our population continues to grow.
“That can only mean one thing, poorer services for the public.”

UnionsWA today commented on the State Government announcement that it will reduce the public sector workforce by 1,500.

 

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Insecure work conference a disgrace
Tuesday, 11 September 2012 11:17

 UnionsWA today supported criticism by ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver and UnionsNSW Secretary Mark Lennon of the Contingent Workforce Conference that today began proceedings in Sydney.

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Sunday trading no excuse for pay cut
Sunday, 26 August 2012 10:47

UnionsWA has warned against attempts to use extended trading hours to cut pay rates.

Meredith Hammat, President of UnionsWA said:

“Sunday trading is not an excuse to cut the low pay of retail and hospitality workers.

“Family celebrations, religious observances, relaxing with friends or sporting events such as today’s City to Surf, mostly occur on weekends.

“Penalty rates are just that – a penalty on employers to limit work intruding on shared time with family and in the community. 

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Care Work shortage needs fair pay, not app
Sunday, 12 August 2012 00:00

Yesterday the Barnett Government launched a job seeker phone app and highlighted the looming shortage of health and care workers in WA.  UnionsWA has today called on the Government address long-standing unfair pay as a more meaningful solution.

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WA Work Injuries on the rise
Monday, 06 August 2012 16:45

UnionsWA today commented on the release by WorkSafe of the latest data on workplace injuries.  This WA Government report notes rising rates of injuries and severe injuries for working people, even controlling for the growing numbers in the workforce.

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Rising WA suicide rate
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 16:14

UnionsWA today called for a cooperative effort among governments, employers, unions and community groups in response to the release today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics of new data showing that contrary to national trends, suicide rates in WA are rising, particularly in non-metropolitan WA.  Rates remain highest among men and Indigenous Australians.

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Bill accounts for local skilled jobs
Tuesday, 03 July 2012 13:27

Unions today commented on the release by the Leader of the Opposition of a policy statement ‘Jobs for the Future’ that highlighted the recent introduction of the Skilled Jobs (Benefits from the Boom) Bill 2012.

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Barnett must follow lead on locals first for jobs
Thursday, 14 June 2012 09:41

Following union success in having the Federal Government Jobs Board established as a step towards ensuring locals have the opportunity to fill resource boom jobs before relying on overseas labour, UnionsWA President, Meredith Hammat, has warned the Barnett Government that it must now reconsider its recent change of policy under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme. 

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Employer and Barnett Government wage ask shown to be out of touch
Monday, 11 June 2012 14:49

Simone McGurk, Secretary UnionsWA, today commented on the decision in the WA State Wage Case by the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission (WAIRC).  The WAIRC decided to award a 3.4% increase in the minimum wage, a rise of $20.60 to $627.70 per week for a full time worker, equivalent to a 54 cent per hour increase making the minimum hourly rate $16.52. 

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Boom jobs need training, purchasing and planning, not stunts
Monday, 11 June 2012 10:02

Meredith Hammat, President, UnionsWA today responded to media reports that the Barnett Government and business executives will visit eastern states to attract skilled workers to take jobs in WA’s resources boom and highlighted the need for the Barnett Government to ensure better training and purchasing by resource companies as well as planning to address rising essential costs of living in WA.

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New ABS data show disputes low in WA
Thursday, 07 June 2012 17:08

Simone McGurk, Secretary UnionsWA has commented on today’s release of new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that show that industrial disputes in WA remain at historic low levels.  The ABS includes in its measure of industrial disputes both lock outs by employers and action taken by workers in support of union claims.

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Federal Wage decision not enough for WA
Friday, 01 June 2012 10:40

Simone McGurk, Secretary UnionsWA today commented on the decision by Fair Work Australia in the Annual Wage Review.  Today Fair Work Australia announced that the Federal Minimum Wage would rise by 2.9% to $606.40, an increase of $17.10 per week for full time workers.  This decision will affect around 300,000 working people in WA who have their pay determined under Federal Awards.

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Historic minimum wage increase needed in WA
Wednesday, 16 May 2012 13:26

UnionsWA today made its written submission on the Minimum Wage to the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission State Case.  UnionsWA has called for an increase of 7% or a $42.50 per week increase for the lowest paid in WA.

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Leaders commit to public services
Tuesday, 01 May 2012 00:00

The Leader of the Opposition, Mark McGowan and Greens spokesperson, Alison Xamon MLC today signed the Save Our Services Action Plan committing their parties to support for quality public services. 

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WA Unions support National Disability Insurance Scheme
Monday, 30 April 2012 00:00

Unions in WA today joined people with disability, their carers and service providers in a march through Perth in support of the Every Australian Count campaign seeking the full implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

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$1 million union campaign targets Barnett service cuts
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 12:16

UnionsWA has launched a month-long television and billboard advertising campaign highlighting the Barnett Government's underfunding of important public services. 

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Unsociable work hours bad for health, relationships and productivity
Thursday, 19 April 2012 12:35

As many West Australians enjoy time with family and friends during the Easter, School break and ANZAC Day holidays, UnionsWA today highlighted a new survey showing that corporate Australia lacks strategies to deal with mental health issues at work.

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Health workers well represented in WA
Thursday, 05 April 2012 10:42

Simone McGurk, Secretary UnionsWA, today responded to reports that the ACTU Executive will consider suspending the Health Services Union (HSU) from its membership with a strong endorsement of the HSU in WA. 

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WA Gender pay gap: Widest, getting worse
Friday, 09 March 2012 10:34

Marking International Women’s Day, 8 March 2012, UnionsWA today released new research that highlights the growing gender wage gap in WA.

Simone McGurk, Secretary UnionsWA said:

“On average women in WA earn $23,000 a year less than men. 

“This is far greater than the gap nationally, where women earn $13,000 a year less.

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Save Our Services Media Campaign Launch
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 15:06

On Sunday 4 March a new phase in the Save Our Services Campaign began with the launch of a radio advertising campaign highlighting the risk to services of the Barnett Government privatisation program.

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School experiment expanding before results in
Tuesday, 28 February 2012 09:35

A decision by the Barnett Government to further expand the Independent Public School (IPS) program has been criticised for failing to provide evidence that it is working.

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Jobs before Ads: Sorting the Wheatstone from the Chaff
Tuesday, 14 February 2012 13:29

Industry groups and unions campaigning for more skilled work to be performed locally for WA’s major resources projects have today criticised the Chevron advertising campaign and the Barnett Governments meek acceptance of it.

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Local content and youth unemployment
Thursday, 02 February 2012 11:47

Barnett Government’s failure on local content reflected in spiralling youth unemployment figures

ABS regional unemployment figures released today show the impact the Barnett Government’s local content failure is having on WA communities with spiralling youth unemployment.

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UnionsWA slams paltry fines for negligent company over workplace death
Friday, 13 January 2012 14:40

Unions have lambasted WA’s workplace safety laws after the Supreme Court today reduced the fines for a company and its directors who were found negligent in the workplace death of a 22 year old worker.

Luke Murrie was killed when a section of crane fell on him in 2007. Today a Supreme Court judge dismissed appeals against the convictions but ruled that the fines should be reduced.

WA unions have issued a call for the State Government to immediately sign up to new national workplace safety laws that include increasing the maximum penalty for negligent employers who are responsible for a workplace death.

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Unions call for immediate action to prevent workplace accidents
Friday, 09 December 2011 12:45

WA unions today demanded immediate action from the Barnett Government to address the staffing crisis in WorkSafe, the agency responsible for administering WA’s occupational health and safety laws and promoting safe workplaces.

WorkSafe is in the midst of a staffing crisis and is currently unable to fill more than a quarter of its workplace inspector positions. WA currently has the lowest ratio of workplace inspectors to employees with major regional centres such as Kalgoorlie and Geraldton without a single inspector.

UnionsWA Occupational Health & Safety Officer Linda Morich is concerned that the staffing crisis is endangering WA workers.

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Worrying new apprenticeship figures show not all is well in the boom state
Thursday, 08 December 2011 13:33

New figures released this week by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) paint a very alarming picture of WA’s resource boom.

Despite a thriving resource economy, the number of people undertaking apprenticeships in the key areas of construction and engineering has decreased since March this year.

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Seven workplace deaths this month – Barnett must act now on workplace safety laws
Thursday, 01 December 2011 12:27

The tragic death of a worker in Bayswater this morning brings to seven the number of workplace deaths in WA this month.

UnionsWA has expressed sorrow at yet another death and angrily reiterated the call for the Barnett Government to act immediately to strengthen WA’s workplace safety laws.

UnionsWA Occupational Health and Safety Officer Linda Morich said that instead of working to ensure WA workers have the highest possible level of workplace safety, the Barnett Government was risking yet more workplace deaths by failing to sign up to the new national safety laws.

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WA unions take to the streets over dodgy visas and resource companies' failure to train WA’s youth
Tuesday, 29 November 2011 10:09

Western Australian unions are coming together today to condemn the dodgy use of temporary visas by resource companies and the failure of these companies to provide training opportunities for WA’s young people.

WA CFMEU Construction Secretary Kevin Reynolds said construction, mining and resource companies should be providing employment and training opportunities for local workers first before looking to overseas.

“We are rallying today to tell the resource companies like Chevron, Woodside and Sino Steel that you can sell our resources but not our futures.”

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WA unions condemn visa rorts on major resource projects
Monday, 28 November 2011 09:44

WA unions have strongly condemned persistent visa rorts on the Gorgon project and are calling for a full investigation by the Department of Immigration.

In the latest example to come to light workers on the Highland Navigator vessel were coached by their employer in how to lie to immigration officials about the purpose of their visit.

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Soaring youth unemployment is the real story behind WA’s resource boom
Friday, 18 November 2011 11:33

The lack of investment in training and local job opportunities by the big resource companies is evident in sky-rocketing youth unemployment in a state this is supposedly in the grips of labour shortages.

New figures from the ABS show youth unemployment in WA is steadily increasing. In the South West Metropolitan region the full time youth unemployment rate in October this year was 24.6%. This is up from 16.3% in 2008.

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Barnett Government will leave WA workers with second rate health and safety
Thursday, 10 November 2011 11:00

West Australian workers are calling on the Barnett Government not to leave them with second rate safety by ignoring the national harmonisation of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) laws.

ACTU President Ged Kearney said workers in WA should have the same OHS standards and protections as in other states and territories, but would be left behind by the Barnett Government’s stubborn refusal to join the new uniform OHS system that will begin on 1 January.

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Workplace death tragic reminder of Barnett Government’s pathetic position on workplace safety
Monday, 07 November 2011 17:23

A fatal workplace accident over the weekend in Picton is a terrible reminder of the Barnett Government’s failure to act on workplace safety laws.

WA unions have expressed sorrow at yet another workplace death and anger at the Barnett Government’s failure to bring WA’s workplace safety laws up to scratch.

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Young offenders to be Sercoed
Thursday, 03 November 2011 12:26

The State Government should not be allowing a company with a poor record for running custodial facilities to be in charge of WA’s new Young Adults Facility, UnionsWA said today.
 The State Government today awarded multi-national company, Serco, the tender to operate and maintain the new facility, which will accommodate 80 male offenders between the ages of 18 and 24.

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12% - It’s about time
Thursday, 03 November 2011 12:11

UnionsWA today welcomed the introduction of legislation into Federal Parliament to boost the base rate of superannuation from nine to 12 per cent.

However, it warned that detractors would cry poor.

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Canada says NO to asbestos talks
Wednesday, 26 October 2011 14:28

Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, is refusing to speak with trade unions and asbestos disease experts while in Perth for CHOGM.

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Costly Perth gets even pricier
Wednesday, 26 October 2011 14:24

Perth is pricing itself out of the market for its own residents, figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Basic food items and utilities have consistently increased over the three-year period, from July 2008 to July 2011.

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Widespread abuse of workers' rights
Wednesday, 26 October 2011 09:24

More than a quarter of countries represented at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth this week have failed to allow basic industrial rights for workers, the ACTU said today.

ACTU President Ged Kearney said a survey by the Commonwealth Trade Union Group showed workers’ rights were being ignored across the Commonwealth, with the worst abuses currently occurring in Fiji and Swaziland.

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SOS call for public services
Monday, 17 October 2011 08:37

An overwhelming majority of West Australians are sending out an SOS to the State Government to save the state’s services.

This is one of the findings of the largest ever WA community survey on public services, conducted by UnionsWA.

More than 7,000 people from all over Western Australia had their say about the services they most want to save.

The survey was launched in response to concerns by public sector workers about deteriorating public services.

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CHOGM leaders called on to pressure Canada to stop deadly asbestos trade
Monday, 10 October 2011 11:33

 World trade unions are calling on the leaders of the Commonwealth nations to put pressure on Canada to put an end to its deadly trade in asbestos.

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Minister O’Brien Caught Red Handed Misleading Public on Local Content Figures
Friday, 07 October 2011 17:28

 The Barnett Government today has been caught red handed trying to pass off manufacturing and engineering work going offshore as local.

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Resource giants should be told to take on apprentices
Thursday, 06 October 2011 09:18

The only way to deal with the skilled labour shortage is for big resource projects to train their own workers, UnionsWA said today.

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CCIWA congratulates itself for failing WA
Thursday, 29 September 2011 15:03
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA should be hanging its head in shame rather than big-noting itself on its miserable failure for WA manufacturers and workers, UnionsWA said today.
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Where are the Wheatstone jobs going? "As if I'd know" admits Barnett
Tuesday, 27 September 2011 11:51

 The announcement by Chevron that the $29billion Wheatstone LNG development would proceed at Onslow has been labelled as bittersweet by unions, engineers and fabricators.

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O’Brien wrong: WA doesn’t need to procrastinate over harmonised OHS laws
Monday, 26 September 2011 14:21

UnionsWA today condemned the Barnett Government for trying to stall WA signing on to harmonised occupational health and safety laws.

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Barnett needs to move now to ensure Wheatstone jobs
Thursday, 22 September 2011 17:15

 UnionsWA is calling on the Barnett Government to ensure that West Australians benefit from Chevron’s Wheatstone LNG project, now that it has been granted federal environmental approval.

"Now is the time to jump in and make sure that as much fabrication work and as many jobs as possible go to West Australians," UnionsWA secretary Simone McGurk said.

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WA households stretched to the limit
Wednesday, 07 September 2011 14:49

06 September 2011


If you’re poor, Western Australia is not the place to be. You will find it harder to pay your electricity bills and stay warm in winter.
Figures for 2009-10 released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show low income earners in WA are finding it tougher to pay these bills than their counterparts in other state.

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Paltry fine over tragic death shows Barnett government not serious about safety
Wednesday, 07 September 2011 14:41

September 2, 2011


The $250,000 fine handed down to a Perth cabinetmaking firm over the workplace death of a young apprentice shows the need to bolster fines to ensure that shoddy work practices are abolished.
Quadtilla Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to failing to provide a safe workplace for the labour hire company worker who died at their Wangara premises in November 2008. The 17-year-old died after 970 kilograms of boards crushed him.

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Perth workers locked out of manufacturing company
Wednesday, 07 September 2011 00:00

 More than 30 workers will be locked out of their Canningvale workplace by their employer tomorrow (Thursday, September 8) as part of a nationwide bid by the company to cut their real wages.

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Industrial action negligible in WA
Friday, 02 September 2011 09:51
1 September 2011
Figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that Western Australia does not have a culture of unnecessary industrial action.
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WA less equal than others
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 14:55

The Barnett government must close the growing gap between the rich and poor in Western Australia.

Figures released today by the Australian Bureau of statistics show that the divide between the top and bottom household incomes is worse in WA than in any other state.

Read more...
 
Unions call for more transparency by resource giants
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 11:58

UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk is calling for more transparency in the tendering process for big resource projects, as West Australian steel manufacturers reveal they are feeling the pressure of fabrication projects going overseas.

A survey published today revealed that 77 per cent of steel businesses in WA felt they were being ignored by the big mining companies which were sending fabrication work offshore.

Employment in the sector is down a whopping 20 percent on 2007-08 levels, and fewer trainees and apprentices are being employed.

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Unions secure payment for exploited workers on Diploma Constructions worksite, despite ABCC interference
Friday, 19 August 2011 15:59

Unions have welcomed payments made to 28 Chinese workers who had gone for 10 weeks without receiving pay for work completed on the Diploma Constructions Riverside Apartments building site on Adelaide Terrace in Perth.

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Tragic death on Rio Tinto mine highlights weakness of WA safety laws
Wednesday, 17 August 2011 09:31

The tragic death of a young worker on a Rio Tinto mine is a devastating reminder of the need for stronger health and safety laws in WA.

WA unions have expressed sorrow at yet another workplace death and reiterated their call for the WA Government to adopt the strongest possible health and safety laws.

From the start of 2012 WA will have weakest health and safety laws in Australia as new uniform laws take effect in every state and territory except WA.

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State MPs 4.3% salary increase shows Govt wages policy is completely inadequate
Tuesday, 09 August 2011 09:17

The Salary and Allowances Tribunal’s (SAT) decision to award WA Members of Parliament a 4.3% salary increase shows just how mean the State Government’s wages policy is, the state’s peak union body, UnionsWA said today.

This is the second year in a row that MPs are to receive a healthy 4.3% salary increase. The State Government continues to apply its stingy GFC-era wages policy to public sector workers whilst at the same time continuing to increase utility prices.

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ABCC must remove CFMEU media gag
Tuesday, 09 August 2011 09:14

Media Release 8 August 2011

ABCC must remove CFMEU media gag and investigate ongoing problems on Diploma Constructions building site

Continuing problems on the troubled Queens Riverside Apartments construction site have prompted unions to call for the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) to lift an injunction preventing the CFMEU from speaking publicly about issues on the Diploma Constructions site.

As well as ongoing issues between sub-contractors, including Joe Scaffidi’s Premier Building Solutions, a group of Chinese workers have been fighting for over $230,000 in unpaid wages. The group of 28 workers have not been paid for up to eight weeks.

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Apprentice figures spark demand for urgent Government intervention
Friday, 29 July 2011 09:47

Figures released today show a serious decline in people undertaking apprentice and traineeships in WA, including in the crucial high demand areas of engineering and construction trades.
The figures, released by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) revealed that between 2008 and 2010, the numbers training as apprentices or trainees in metal engineering and construction occupations have declined by over 2000.

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State Government chooses to support foreign workers over West Australians
Monday, 18 July 2011 13:58

WA unions have today accused the State Government of neglecting West Australians in favour of further skilled migration.

The State Government has criticised the federal government’s visa processes for making it hard for foreign workers to come to WA. UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk said the State Government should focus on addressing growing unemployment in WA before looking to foreign workers.

In WA the number of unemployed people has increased by nearly half since 2008 (from 382,000 to 548,000). In the South West and South East regions it has increased by over two thirds with youth unemployment currently above 20%.

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UnionsWA welcomes action on climate change
Monday, 11 July 2011 09:10

UnionsWA has welcomed the Federal Government’s carbon tax announcement as a necessary and timely step towards a cleaner, low carbon economy.

Simone McGurk said that failing to act now would be irresponsible and would likely result in job losses further down the track. “Failure to take decisive action now will mean we’re forced to make rapid and drastic changes further down the track which will put jobs at risk. By acting now we are giving industry the chance to move to low emissions technologies and to plan ahead which is essential in order to protect jobs.”

“WA unions accept the overwhelming evidence that our climate is changing as a result of human activity and we understand that failure to act on this information will jeopardise our own standard of living as well as that of our children and grandchildren. For that reason, UnionsWA welcomes today’s announcement and will work with union members and with the government and industry in order to ensure that the transition to a lower carbon economy is successful.”

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Colin Barnett should rule out WA WorkChoices in future terms, say unions
Thursday, 07 July 2011 16:05

WA unions are calling for Premier Colin Barnett to rule out WorkChoices-type changes to WA work laws in any future Liberal state government.

The call comes after the Premier announced that his Government would not implement any of the recommendations from a $850,000 report into the state's work laws.

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Barnett Backdown shows WorkChoices is electoral poison
Wednesday, 06 July 2011 16:58

Premier Colin Barnett’s latest distancing of his Government from implementing WorkChoices-type changes to WA work laws is an admission that those policies are damaging for working people, as well as electoral poison.

After gaining Government in 2008, then then Minister for Commerce Troy Buswell commissioned a former WorkChoices architect, Steven Amendola, to review WA’s work laws, an exercise that wasted over $1million of taxpayers’ money.

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Report raises serious questions about Independent Public Schools policy
Tuesday, 05 July 2011 13:36

An independent report released today by researchers from the Curtin Graduate School of Business, exposes an agenda of cost-cutting and the shifting of risk and accountability, behind the State Government’s so called Independent Public Schools (IPS) “initiative.”

The report provides evidence that self-managing schools open the way for greater privatisation of the education system, increase the workload of education staff, undermine teaching by increasing administration, and most importantly, do not improve overall student learning outcomes.

The reports author’s, Dr Scott Fitzgerald and Professor Al Rainnie, have examined the implementation of policies similar to IPS in other states and overseas and uncovered a raft of issues that raise serious questions as to the overall benefit of such a policy approach.

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Barnett Government’s local content announcement slammed by unions
Friday, 01 July 2011 15:08

Unions have blasted the Barnett Government’s lack of commitment to WA jobs and dismissed the Government’s 10 point ‘local industry participation plan’ as lacking concrete action.

UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk said: “The Barnett Government’s ten point plan is a lame attempt to appear like they’re doing something on local content while completely ignoring the needs of WA workers and local businesses.”

Read more...
 
Biggest ever community survey launched in WA
Wednesday, 22 June 2011 08:03

WA unions are embarking upon the largest ever community survey in Western Australia to canvas opinion on key community services.

With the Barnett Government continuing to cut public sector budgets, privatise services, undermine public sector workers and palm off work to the community sector, the survey will ask the community whether these changes are impacting on services in their area.

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Unions blast State Govt and CCI over pathetic minimum wage increase
Friday, 10 June 2011 15:43

WA unions have hit out at the $20 a week increase for low wage workers handed down by the WA Industrial Relations Commission today.

Despite escalating living costs and continuous talk of a mining boom, the CCI and the State Government both pushed for negligible increases to the minimum wage which would leave a family of four, with one adult working on an award wage, well below the poverty line.

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Meatworkers’ union welcomes Indonesian live export ban – it’s time for a fundamental change in policy
Thursday, 09 June 2011 14:15

Speaking on the suspension of live cattle exports to Indonesia, the Federal Secretary of the Meatworkers’ Union, Brian Crawford said:

“The Meatworkers’ Union welcomes the Prime Minister’s decision to suspend live exports of cattle to Indonesia on animal welfare grounds – now a fundamental change in policy must occur.

Read more...
 
Large crowds expected to gather on Sunday to call for climate action
Saturday, 04 June 2011 09:50

Thousands of Australian families will join high profile scientists, economists, actors, writers and sportspeople calling for a price on carbon pollution. Large crowds are expected to gather in capital cities on Sunday to support immediate action on climate change.

The culmination of a week of national campaigning by non-profit groups to “Say Yes” to climate change action in Australia, the event will be held on June 5 – World Environment Day – in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Hobart. It will highlight the need for pollution reduction and greater investment in renewable energy.

The event in Perth is being organised by a diverse range of groups, including churches, unions, conservation groups and organisations representing young Australians concerned about the impact of climate change on their future.

Read more...
 
Lowest paid workers get a $19.40 wage rise, but still not enough to bridge gap
Friday, 03 June 2011 11:36

03 June, 2011 | ACTU Media Release

Today’s decision by Fair Work Australia to grant a 3.4% increase to the one in six workers who are dependent on awards will allow Australia’s lowest paid workers to keep pace with the cost of living, but not with the rest of the workforce.

The Annual Wage Review decision will lift the National Minimum Wage by $19.40 a week to $589.30 or $15.51 an hour from 1 July, and means that in real terms, the minimum wage has finally recovered from WorkChoices.

Read more...
 
Unions call for Barnett to use Dubai visit to address appalling exploitation of Gulf migrant workers
Friday, 03 June 2011 09:04

UnionsWA has joined the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in highlighting the appalling exploitation of Gulf migrant workers. A new multimedia report uncovering the human cost of the huge migrant labour force in the Gulf States of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates has just been launched by the International Trade Union Confederation in Brussels.

UnionsWA is urging Premier Barnett to raise this issue whilst in Dubai to discuss trade and investment opportunities.

Read more...
 
Large crowds expected to gather on Sunday to call for climate action
Thursday, 02 June 2011 14:54

Media Release - 2 June 2011

Thousands of Australian families will join high profile scientists, economists, actors, writers and sportspeople calling for a price on carbon pollution. Large crowds are expected to gather in capital cities on Sunday to support immediate action on climate change.

The culmination of a week of national campaigning by non-profit groups to “Say Yes” to climate change action in Australia, the event will be held on June 5 – World Environment Day – in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Hobart. It will highlight the need for pollution reduction and greater investment in renewable energy.

The event in Perth is being organised by a diverse range of groups, including churches, unions, conservation groups and organisations representing young Australians concerned about the impact of climate change on their future. 

Read more...
 
Unions blast State Government and CCI over stingy minimum wage position
Tuesday, 31 May 2011 08:42

Media Release    31 May 2011

WA unions have today lashed out at the State Government and employer groups saying that their stingy recommendations for an inadequate increase to WA’s minimum wage are likely to force more WA families below the poverty line.

UnionsWA has said that rising household costs have left many families and award-dependent workers desperately in need of a fair increase to WA’s minimum wage from this week’s state wage case hearing.

Read more...
 
University report slams Barnett Government’s outsourcing plans
Friday, 20 May 2011 13:00

The Barnett Government’s ongoing effort to handball responsibility for the delivery of key public sector services to community groups will undermine the quality of service delivery, according to a major new report.

Prepared by Curtin Graduate School of Business Chair Professor Al Rainnie, Putting the Public First? examines the implications of the Barnett Government’s Economic Audit Committee Report, which was released in 2009 and has driven a number of the government’s public sector changes.

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Unions demand State Government put its money where its mouth is on community sector wages
Friday, 20 May 2011 08:00

Despite the Government’s claims that this is a state budget dedicated to spending on services, WA unions are sceptical that today’s state budget will result in improved services for the WA community. The Government’s transfer of services from the public to the non-profit sector shifts responsibility for services to low paid community sector workers who are themselves becoming a vulnerable group in WA society.

A report commissioned by UnionsWA and due to be released tomorrow indicates that contracting services out to the non-profit sector is often a first step towards the full privatisation of public services.

If the Government was serious about improving services and pay for community workers it would have tied part of the funding to a wage increase. UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk said that despite repeated calls from WA unions for this to happen, the government has refused and continues to take advantage of these workers.

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WA unions welcome major win for low paid Community and Social workers
Monday, 16 May 2011 15:16

UnionsWA has welcomed today’s Fair Work Australia (FWA) ruling in support of the Australian Services Union’s case equal pay case for low paid workers in the Social and Community Services Sectors. A FWA full bench has ruled in favour of making an equal remuneration order to rectify a gender-based disparity between the pay of social and community services workers and employees in state and local government. WA unions say the Barnett Government must now act in line with the ruling and allocate additional money for wages in the SACS sector in Thursday’s state budget.

The Social and Community Services (SACS) sector is overwhelmingly dominated by female employees and the fact that the work has been seen as “women’s work” has led to workers in the sector being grossly underpaid, particularly in comparison with their counterparts in the public sector. SACS workers frequently receive up to $30,000 less than people performing similar roles in the public sector.

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Unions welcome skilled jobs legislation
Thursday, 14 April 2011 10:22

Industry groups and unions campaigning for more skilled work to be performed locally for WA’s major resources projects have welcomed the introduction of legislation designed to combat skilled work being sent offshore.

The Skilled Local Jobs Bill was second read into parliament today by Opposition Leader Eric Ripper.

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Barnett Government continues to undermine WA’s public services with latest job cuts announcement
Friday, 25 March 2011 08:53

Media Release    25 March 2011
In flagging another 400 public service job redundancies the Barnett Government is again demonstrating its contempt for the people who provide WA’s essential public services and the people of WA who depend on them.

“Not only is the Barnett Government looking to bring in WorkChoices-style changes for people in the WA public sector, they’re now shedding important public sector jobs at a time when WA’s economy is booming and the population is growing,” said UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk.

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Barnett Government refuses to support equal pay
Tuesday, 08 March 2011 11:44

On the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day the State Government continues to refuse to support equal pay for women workers.

“While people are taking time today to reflect on the remarkable achievements of the women’s movement in the fight for equality there must also be an acknowledgement of the ongoing battles” said UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk.

Despite equal pay for equal work being achieved in Australia in 1972, women’s work continues to remain undervalued and underpaid. And nowhere is this worse than in WA where the pay gap between men and women currently sits at 26% compared to a national average of 17%. The pay gap in WA is growing.
Industries that are female dominated continue to have significantly lower rates of pay than male dominated industries.

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UnionsWA buy pizzas for Wisconsin protesters
Friday, 04 March 2011 16:49

UnionsWA staff have demonstrated their support for the protestors in the US city of Wisconsin by having a number of pizzas delivered to the group on behalf of staff at the peak body. Public sector workers in Wisconsin are facing an unprecedented attack on their rights by the newly elected conservative Governor of the state.

With a local pizza shop in Wisconsin taking orders from supporters worldwide, UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk felt it was important to show support given the challenges workers in WA are currently facing.

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Woodside must guarantee engineering work will be done locally
Tuesday, 22 February 2011 17:13

UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk has called on energy giant Woodside to guarantee that some of the front end engineering and design contracts for its Browse project would be done in Australia.

Woodside announced that successful companies would include Aker Solutions, MODEC, Kellogg Brown and Root and Leighton Contractors had been awarded the contracts.

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Premier points finger at local industry for the offshoring of skilled work to China
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 14:38

Western Australia’s steel fabrication industry has been disappointed by remarks made by Premier Colin Barnett in Parliament yesterday, urging them to “do more” to win skilled work from WA’s major resources projects.

Mr Barnett made the remarks in response to a question by Opposition Leader Eric Ripper, who questioned the Premier on his failure to keep his 2009 promise that, “Gorgon will fill up WA’s workshops for years.”

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Local industry and unions launch campaign to save WA’s skilled jobs
Monday, 14 February 2011 14:49
Australia’s peak steel industry group has joined forces with local unions to launch a campaign to save WA’s skilled engineering and fabrication jobs.

The Barnett Government is allowing the State’s big resources projects to send their skilled work offshore.
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Youth training must be a key element of the boom
Monday, 10 January 2011 10:26

By Simone McGurk, UnionsWA Secretary.

The Barnett Government’s report into Skilling the Workforce of Western Australia last week was probably more important than its mid-December release suggests.

It underlined the challenge of ensuring that young people of Western Australia are given the best opportunity to prosper from the boom.

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Barnett set to introduce WorkChoices in WA
Wednesday, 08 December 2010 09:59

The worst fears of West Australian unions have been realised with Colin Barnett set to introduce WorkChoices for more than 300,000 WA workers.

The radical changes were outlined yesterday in the long overdue Amendola review of WA’s industrial relations system.

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Barnett set to introduce WorkChoices in WA
Tuesday, 07 December 2010 12:11

The worst fears of West Australian unions have been realised with Colin Barnett set to introduce WorkChoices for more than 300 thousand WA workers.

The radical changes were outlined yesterday in the long overdue Amendola review of WA’s industrial relations system.

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Ark Tribe found not guilty, now the ABCC must go
Wednesday, 24 November 2010 08:36

UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk has praised the decision of Magistrate David Whittle to acquit South Australian construction worker Ark Tribe and described the decision as a humiliating blow for the ABCC (Australian Building and Construction Commission) which must now be disbanded by the Federal Government.

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Scenes outside the Adelaide Court as Ark Tribe addresses the crowd after being acquitted.

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The madness must stop for Ark Tribe
Tuesday, 23 November 2010 11:17

UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk has called for an end to the two year nightmare brought by the ABCC (Australian Building and Construction Commission) against South Australian construction worker Ark Tribe. A verdict is due in Tribe’s case on Wednesday.

Tribe has made more than seven trips to court over the past two years and Ms McGurk says Magistrate David Whittle must bring the saga to an end.

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