Ever since conservatives smelt blood in the Canberra air they have been racheting up complaints about Fair Work Australia (FWA), with a bring back WorkChoices subtext.
Well as far as I’m concerned the bl@@dy thing isn’t broken and an Abbott-led Coalition can’t be trusted anywhere near industrial relations policy.
Why do I think Fair Work Australia is getting a bad rap?
See this FWA press release on 7th September 2011 for starters……
“The operators of a Gold Coast shooting range have been fined a total of $30,000 for asking employees to sign an Individual Flexibility Arrangement (IFA) removing their penalty rates.
Australian Shooting Academy Pty Ltd, which operates a public indoor shooting range at Centro Surfers Paradise shopping centre, has been penalised $25,000.
Company director and part-owner Michael Joseph Murphy, who manages the shooting range, has been fined a further $5000.
Australian Shooting Academy was also ordered to pay compensation of $7146 to one worker.
The fines and compensation order, imposed in the Federal Court in Brisbane, are the result of a prosecution by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
They were imposed by Justice John Logan after Mr Murphy admitted he was involved in Australian Shooting Academy breaching workplace laws in 2010 when asking six employees to sign an IFA.
The IFA removed their entitlement to Modern Award penalty rates for overtime, weekend and public holiday work. Five of the six employees ultimately signed the IFA.
However, the adverse action, coercion, undue pressure and duress provisions of workplace laws were breached when one of the employees signed only after he was threatened that there would be no work for him if he did not sign.
Further, the adverse action provisions of workplace laws were breached when the one employee who refused to sign the IFA was subsequently given no further work. This worker was the subject of the Court’s compensation order.
It is the first time the Fair Work Ombudsman has taken legal action over alleged contraventions relating to IFAs.
It is unlawful for employers to force employees to agree to an IFA and it is unlawful to make an IFA a condition of employment.”
And this one on the same day…..
“The Fair Work Ombudsman is prosecuting the owner-operator of a Sydney truck company, alleging he was involved in sham contracting activity and underpaying a worker more than $13,000.
Facing court is Sydney man John Mineeff, who owned and operated Fairfield-based company Villtruck Pty Ltd, before it went into liquidation last year. Villtruck was involved in purchasing, repairing and selling second-hand trucks.
It is alleged Mr Mineeff was centrally involved in his company breaching the sham contracting provisions of workplace laws in relation to an employee who performed panel beating and vehicle detailing duties.
It is alleged the employee, aged in his 30s, was dismissed in early 2009 and immediately re-hired as an independent contractor.
However, it is alleged the employee’s correct classification was as an employee because he continued to perform substantially the same duties at his employer’s direction.
Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson says under the sham contracting provisions of workplace laws, it is unlawful to dismiss an employee in order to engage them as an independent contractor to perform the same duties. “It is also unlawful to misrepresent an employment relationship as an independent contracting arrangement,” Mr Wilson said.
Mr Mineeff was allegedly also involved in underpaying the employee $13,592 in annual leave entitlements and breaching workplace laws relating to keeping employment records and issuing pay slips.
Fair Work inspectors investigated after the employee lodged a complaint.
The Fair Work Ombudsman cannot prosecute Villtruck because the company is in liquidation.
Mr Mineeff was allegedly involved in multiple breaches of workplace laws. He faces maximum penalties ranging from $1100 to $6600 per breach.”
And yet again…..
2 Sep 2011
The operators of a NSW security company have been fined for their involvement in failing to back-pay 22 underpaid workers.
31 Aug 2011
The Fair Work Ombudsman has recovered more than $24,000 back-pay for workers on Rottnest Island as part of an education and compliance campaign.
26 Aug 2011
A number of workers in regional Tasmania have been back-paid a total of $54,700 following intervention by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
22 Aug 2011
A sales assistant at Deniliquin in regional NSW has been back-paid a total of $6400 following intervention by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Let Teh Rabbit, Erica Abetz, Poodle Pyne, Don Argus and the rest of the Serfdom Rules1 mob decide policy? We’d hafta have a death wish!