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Sunday trading off family time
Sunday trading off family time
UnionsWA has commented on calls by employers to further extend Sunday trading times and media reports that the Barnett Government is considering options to do so.
Meredith Hammat, Secretary, UnionsWA said:
“During the recent election the Barnett Government made no mention of plans to introduce a further extension of Sunday trading times.  To do so now would be arrogant.
“Family celebrations, religious observances, relaxing with friends and sporting events mostly occur on weekends.
“A further extension of Sunday trading hours would rob hospitality and retail workers, mostly women, of time with family.
“Business has been campaigning hard to get rid of penalty rate, despite the fact there is no evidence this will create new jobs, and plenty of evidence it will hurt low-paid workers.
“Last year when Sunday trading was announced, Colin Barnett voiced his support for reducing penalty rates.
“This year Tony Abbot refused to support legislation to protect penalty rates.
“Penalty rates are just that – a penalty on employers to limit work intruding on shared time with family and in the community.
“Employers asked for Sunday trading, they can afford to factor in proper pay for their staff and they should manage to keep unsociable hours of work to a minimum.
“If Sunday trading is compounded by a reduction in penalty pay workers in retail and hospitality will have to work after-hours more often and work longer to earn the same pay.
“That means less shared time for families.”
UnionsWA has commented on calls by employers to further extend Sunday trading times and media reports that the Barnett Government is considering options to do so.
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WA Gender Pay Gap – sexist not sexy
WA Gender Pay Gap – sexist not sexy
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, Secretary, UnionsWA said:
“Today’s ABS release has the gender pay gap in WA the worst in Australia.  On average women in WA earn $479.20 per week, or 26.6% less than men.  Nationally women earn 17.5% less than men.
“As most working people in WA are covered under federal workplace laws, the outcome of the federal election will be central to addressing unfair pay and condition for working women.
“Tony Abbot has got to prove he’s real about women and work.
“The gender pay gap isn’t sexy, it’s sexist.
“In getting a job or determining pay it shouldn’t matter what gender someone is, or how attractive they are judged to be.
“UnionsWA is calling on Tony Abbott to promise not to cut Federal Government funding for an historic case now before the WA Industrial Relations Commission to ensure fair pay for community service workers, mostly women.
“In these traditional occupations such as in health and community services the pay needs to be much better.
“As well as pay our industrial relations system has an important role.
“Employers are running a campaign to take away penalty rates, and in the past Abbot has failed to protect these rates which have an important role in improving the low pay of retail and hospitality workers, mostly women.
“Long, irregular and unsociable hours of work are kept in check by penalty rates.
“Work also needs to be more secure.
“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.
“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.
Source: ABS release 6302.0 - Average Weekly Earnings, Australia, May 2013
http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6302.0May%202013?OpenDocument
Note: Ordinary weekly earnings have been used here for women in WA the ABS estimates this at estimated at $1325.50 and for men at $1804.70 in May, 2013.
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.

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Serious work injuries continue to rise in WA
Serious work injuries continue to rise in WA
UnionsWA today commented on the release by WorkSafe WA of workers’ compensation data showing a continuing rise in very serious work injuries in WA.
Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA said:
“The number and rate of very serious work injuries, those resulting in more than 60 working days lost, is now higher in WA than at any time in the past five years.
“For 2011-12 WorkSafe WA reports that 5,350 working people suffered such very severe injuries.
“This is a cost to industry through workers’ compensation, but more importantly people are often left with life-long disability and a loss of livelihood.
“Work fatalities average one death every 21 days, so some recent fall in that rate and the overall injury rate is welcome.
“But clearly more needs to be done, by governments, employers and everyone in WA workplaces.
“However the WA Government has refused to sign-up to national health and safety to make the system clearer and simpler for everyone.
“It has insisted on keeping weaker penalties for employers who fail to maintain safe workplace, has poorer protections for whistle-blowers and wants to make it harder to prosecute breaches of work safety laws.
“In 2012 the Barnett Government consulted around its proposed weaker safety laws.
“There has been no outcome from those consultations, no policy announcement, no legislation.
“With that record, and in the face of this latest crisis of serious work injuries, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the Barnett Government simply doesn’t rate work safety as a priority. “
Source:
‘Work Related Lost Time Injuries and Diseases in WA 2011-12 preliminary data’ is available at:
UnionsWA today commented on the release by WorkSafe WA of workers’ compensation data showing a continuing rise in very serious work injuries in WA.
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2013 State election finances: WA democracy alive but unwell
2013 State election finances:
WA democracy alive but unwell
UnionsWA has commented on the release today by the WA Electoral Commission of financial returns for political parties and others in the lead up to the 2013 WA state election.
Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA said:
“These returns show that democracy in WA is alive, but unwell.
“At more than $6 million conservative political parties spent double that of the Labor Opposition and the Greens WA.
“That kind of money isn’t raised by a chook raffle, that’s big dollars from big business.
“Barnett is the Six Million Dollar Premier.
“The campaign gifts and expenditures by UnionsWA were significant at $650,000, but they were dwarfed by those huge expenditures, mostly funded by employers and industry.
“Other notable, but also minor expenditures were from the RAC WA $423,000 and the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry, $194,000.
“It is important in a democracy that community groups as well as groups of employers and working people have the capacity to have their say directly in an election.
“It is not healthy for the discrepancy in party political expenditure to be so great.”
Source:
The WAEC figures show that government political parties declared gifts and funding of over $6 million ($5.1 mil by the Liberals and 0.9 mil by The Nationals WA), WA Labor declared $2.8 million and the Greens WA $0.5 mil.  Among ‘Other’ returns UnionsWA declared $650,000, the RAC WA $423,000 and the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry, $194,000.  These figures include head office, lower and upper house political party campaigns.  For full figures go to:
UnionsWA has commented on the release today by the WA Electoral Commission of financial returns for political parties and others in the lead up to the 2013 WA state election.  
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457 visa rorts exposed
457 visa rorts exposed
UnionsWA today commented on debate continuing today on the Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Bill 2013 in the Commonwealth Parliament and addressed media together with two 457 visa workers in WA who have spoken about their fear of insecure work.
Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA said:
“457 rorts are real and today we’ve evidence from two brave 457 visa holders who have spoken about how their lives have been damaged by a system in desperate need of an overhaul.
“The legislation before the Commonwealth Parliament is sound – employers should have to prove they have made genuine efforts for jobs to be filled by locals first before turning to overseas workers.
“It also means that when skilled jobs are filled by temporary 457 visa holders, they are more likely to be genuine jobs and less likely to be insecure jobs.
“Many 457 workers fear their employer will dismiss them meaning their forced departure from Australia.
“Those fears underpin reluctance by 457 visa holders to raise health, safety or wage concerns or concerns about unfair dismissals.
“Over the past year around 15,000 new 457 visas were issued in WA.
“If we fail to get rid of the 457 visa rorts, then West Australians have more to lose than others.
“457 visa holders are the often silent victims of these rorts.
“These skilled workers, many from poor or developing countries, are enticed by a job offer, resign their jobs and leave their families to work temporarily in Australia.
“Too many are then the victims of scam contracting arrangements, charged exorbitant costs for accommodation or sacked unfairly or with little or no notice.
“Australian Unions care about the lives of all working people.
“We know that when employers get away with rorts against one group of workers they will try to spread that to others.”

UnionsWA today commented on debate continuing today on the Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Bill 2013 in the Commonwealth Parliament and addressed media together with two 457 visa workers in WA who have spoken about their fear of insecure work.

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Public lose with service jobs cuts and job insecurity
Public lose with service jobs cuts and job insecurity
UnionsWA has commented on the announcement today by Premier Barnett of 1,000 public sector job losses including forced redundancies.
Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA said:
“The loss of a thousand jobs will be bad for the WA economy and mean poorer public services for WA’s growing population
“WA’s population is growing by around 73,000 a year.
“Our health, education, transportation and other public services are under great pressure, which can only now get worse.”
“Those who need public services will have to wait longer or go without.
“Those remaining to support and deliver services will also be under pressure.
“Legislation to force redundancies will have a permanent and long term impact on public sector recruitment.
“Insecure work will make it harder to attract and retain skilled people needed for the delivery of modern services.
“Increasing employment separation package payments will be welcomed by some experienced and older public sector workers who have planned for early retirement, but for those who need work to pay a mortgage, a few extra weeks’ pay just isn’t enough.
”Today’s announcement also included a decision by the Barnett Government to implement a cap on its wages bill.  This will make public sector employment rec recruitment and retention even harder.”

UnionsWA has commented on the announcement today by Premier Barnett of 1,000 public sector job losses including forced redundancies.
Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA said:

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State Wage decision not enough

UnionsWA today commented on the decision by WA Industrial Relations Commission in the State Wage Case.The Commission has decided that the WA Minimum Wage will rise by $18.20 per week to $645.90 per week.

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ABS data show dispute days lost falling in WA and Australia
ABS data show dispute days lost falling in WA and Australia
UnionsWA has commented on today’s release of new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics  showing that year on year for three years the days lost due to industrial disputes in WA have fallen.
Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA, said:
“If facts matter then the myth that the Fair Work Act had led to industrial chaos should be dead, buried and cremated by today’s data from the ABS.
“In WA in the year to March this has the third consecutive year that days lost due to disputes has fallen.
“In the years ending in March the days lost due to disputes has fallen from 16,700 in 2011 to 8,100 in 2012 and is now at 5,400 in 2013.
“Nationally in the year to March 2013 the number of days lost due to disputes has also fallen.
Source:
6321.0 - Industrial Disputes, Australia, March 2013
http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/6321.0.55.001Main+Features1Mar%202013?OpenDocument
Meredith Hammat is available for comment.

UnionsWA has commented on today’s release of new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics  showing that year on year for three years the days lost due to industrial disputes in WA have fallen.

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