TECHNICAL AND SERVICES BRANCH WEEKLY BULLETIN 2023
4 June 2023
COURT WIN BY OUR BRANCH - MEMBERS TO GET BACK PAY
We argued that our Branch members were entitled to the Allowance. The Court agreed and said: Accordingly, I find that ESTA is liable to pay the Plaintiffs the Mentor Allowance under the enterprise agreements.
The case was about the mentoring allowance in the Emergency Services Telecommunications Agreement (ESTA) EBA. ESTA refused for years to pay the allowance to Trainers. We took it to Court to get payment, backpay and interest. The Court agreed with our arguments and Trainers must now be paid the allowance, and paid backpay with interest. A further hearing will finalise those matters. Further the failure to pay the allowance is a breach of the law and penalties will also be determined at a further hearing. It is open to ESTA to appeal. See the
ESTA TRAINERS WILL NEED OUR HELP
The case we brought was in the name of 2 members. It was essentially a test case as the question has been determined - Trainers are entitled to the allowance. For other members we will draft a spreadsheet for members to complete. In short we are able to claim at least 6 years backpay. Interest varies from period to period and is currently 10%. We can get details of times when you undertook mentoring (without payment of the allowance) and we can calculate the interest for various times. Please register your interest with our Melbourne office or with an email.
NATIONAL WAGE CASE - BIG PAY INCREASES
This week the Fair Work Commission announcement of an 8.6% increase for those on the minimum wage and 5.57% for those on award wage. It will be welcome relief for the 2.67 million Australian workers directly affected. It does not affect workers on EBAs.
With inflation running at 6.8% this will mean $66.50 more per week in the pocket of an entry level disability support worker and $51.08 per week in the pocket of an entry level shop worker.
Business is posting record profits this year - they can afford this raise.
When workers have more money in their pockets, they spend it in local shops and cafes. This increase not only helps workers to pay their bills and put food on the table, it means they can support local businesses. This is good for the economy.
ACTU Secretary Sally McManus: "As it does every year, big business pushed hard for a cut that would see Australia's lowest paid workers go backwards by at least $1350 a year. Today's 5.75 % increase for award workers means they can just keep up with the cost of living. It is a matter of survival.
TIME TO CLOSE LABOUR-HIRE LOOPHOLES AND RESTORE FAIRNESS
Big business is outsourcing labour in Australia at rapidly rising rates, undermining wages, job security and conditions in all industries. The practice is rife in aviation, mining, manufacturing and transport, as well as hospitality, agriculture, meat processing, security and cleaning.
At least 600,000 workers, or 3.5% to 4.5% of the workforce, are employed through labour hire, new research by the ACTU finds.
About 81% of labour-hire workers work full-time hours yet they do not have full-time jobs - their ongoing employment is insecure. Some 84% of labour hire workers do not have paid leave and most have no guaranteed minimum hours. They earn about $4700 a year less than ordinary workers when comparing the median hourly rate for a full-time worker, the ACTU research finds.
Labour hire was originally intended to fill short-term gaps. But big business is now using complex, multi-tiered, opaque structures to outsource then `re-source' labour. This enables big business to erode job security and avoid the wages and conditions set in awards or enterprise agreements. It means a labour-hire employee doing the same job alongside a direct hire can be paid much less.
ACTU President Michele O'Neil: "When two workers are working alongside each other and doing the same work, but one is on a much lower rate of pay because their employer has been `clever' enough to use a different company to employ one of them, this is not fair.
CONTRACTORS: EXPLOSION IN SHAM CONTRACTING
The number of workers on sham or "dependent" contracting is at record highs, and now outnumbers genuinely independent contractors for the first time, new research by the ACTU shows.
Workers on sham or dependent contracting arrangements earn $242.80 less per week than genuine independent contractors, measured on a median basis. Over a year, this is a pay gap of $12,644.
More than 565,000 contractors are unable to subcontract out their work, a key indicator of whether a contractor is truly independent. By contrast, only 550,000 contractors can subcontract their work.
This surge in sham arrangements has been aided by the rapid growth in gig and platform work throughout the pandemic, and two High Court decisions in 2022 that overturned the definition of employee, making it easier for big business to mislabel employees as contractors - a loophole enabling them to cut pay and conditions.
This research comes on top of a wide range of evidence about corporate tactics to deny workers' pay and conditions. For example, gig workers lose up to $400 million per year in super because they are not classified as employees, according to Industry Super Australia.
The ACTU is calling for the Albanese Government to make common sense reforms that protect workers' rights.
Authorised by Dan Dwyer Assistant Secretary, Sue Riley Secretary
- CWU Telecommunications & Services Branches.