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Federal Wage decision not enough for WA
Federal Wage decision not enough for WA
UnionsWA today commented on the decision by Fair Work Commission in the Annual Wage Review.  Today Fair Work Australia announced that the Federal Minimum Wage would rise by 2.6% to $622.20 per week, an increase of $15.80 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.
Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA said:
“Today’s increase in the National Wage Case of $15.80` per week for a full time worker falls well short of the Perth house rental rise of $40 per week over the past year typical.
“It is not enough for employers to talk about economic fears which have not been realised.
“What is real is that housing and other essential costs of living are high and rising in WA.
“Interest rates, unemployment and industrial disputes are low.
“The overall inflation is low but this is misleading because low wage workers must meet rising costs for essentials, rather than slowing price rises for electronics, luxuries and lifestyle goods.
“When low wage workers have to face rising costs for essentials they are forced to work longer hours, with less time for family.
”Fears for job security are heightened and such workers are less likely to raise legitimate concerns on the job such as for health and safety to proper pay.

UnionsWA today commented on the decision by Fair Work Commission in the Annual Wage Review.  Today Fair Work Australia announced that the Federal Minimum Wage would rise by 2.6% to $622.20 per week, an increase of $15.80 per week for full time workers.  

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Barnett cuts to services and jobs dishonest
Media Release 29 May 2013
Barnett cuts to services and jobs dishonest
UnionsWA has commented on statements made today by Premier Barnett and related media reports that the WA State Budget will include cut to services and job losses, reported to be as many as 1,000.
Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA said:
“The Premier has been dishonest with the people of WA.
“In the period leading up to the recent election he made no mention of service and public sector jobs cuts.
“For the Premier to acknowledge only that “senior management” will be under further pressure to do more with less is both dishonest and misleading.
“Those who need public services will have to wait longer or go without.
“Those who deliver and support the direct delivery of services, not just managers, will also be under pressure.
“WA’s population is growing by around 73,000 a year, our health, education and transportation services are under great pressure, which can only now get worse.”
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 statements made today by Premier Barnett and related media reports that the WA State Budget will include cut to services and job losses, reported to be as many as 1,000.

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Employers propose cryonic pay suspension for the poor
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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Unions will fight employer push for pay freeze
UnionsWA has today commented on the recent release by the WA Industrial Relations Commission of submissions to the WA State Wage case. The case determines wages for more than 100,000 working West Australians
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164,000 WA Union members join for a life
UnionsWA today commented on the release by the ABS of data finding 164,000 working West Australians are union members.  The data shows that compared with union members, non-union members are three and a half times more likely to have no entitlements to paid leave.
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Auditor General Injured Worker Report
Media Release 9 May 2013
Auditor General Injured Worker Report
UnionsWA has commented on the release today by the WA Auditor General of its report, Management of Injured Workers in the Public Sector.  The State Government is the largest employer in WA, employing around 160,000 people.
Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA said:
“The WA public sector is going backwards – with a 24 per cent increase in severe injuries and 3 per cent increase in lost time due to injuries and disease over two years.
“The Auditor General contrasts this with the rest of Australia where injury and disease rates are falling.
“Teachers, prison officers and other public sector workers perform stressful and dangerous work serving the public.
“The report notes that two key agencies, the Departments of Education and Corrective Services, could only establish needed return to work programs for less than half of injured workers.
“Just this week the Minister for Corrective Services, Joe Francis demonstrated how little he understands of the stresses faced by Prison Officers.
“The Report shows there has been a 30 per cent blow out in workers’ compensation insurance payments by public sector agencies. This blowout shows the present system is not working.
“According to this report, only one public sector agency out of eight surveyed even spoke to injured workers about their return to work strategies.
“Government should be looking at much better ways of managing return to work in its own workforce.
“This improves the health of injured worker as well as the budget bottom line.
“The Auditor General’s Report shows that WA is far from best practice and is getting worse.”
Source:
The Auditor General report Management of Injured Workers in the Public Sector is available at: http://www.audit.wa.gov.au/report2013.php
Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA will be 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 WA Auditor General of its report, Management of Injured Workers in the Public Sector.  The State Government is the largest employer in WA, employing around 160,000 people.

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Secure Jobs and Life Campaign Launch
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
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

 
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