Showing posts with label jobs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jobs. Show all posts

Friday, 3 August 2018

NSW Roads & Maritime Services bungling and corrupt in 2018?


NSW Minister for Roads Maritime and Freight has a policy of sending IT jobs offshore?

With the national unemployment rate running at 5.4 per cent nationally in June 2018 and the New South Wales rate sitting at 4.8 per cent or 192,000 people, is the Minister for Roads Maritime and Freight & Nationals MP for Oxley Melinda Pavey secretly closing off employment opportunities for Australian information technology workers as a departmental cost-cutting measure?

These are not exactly the highest paying jobs in this country, averaging $46,000-$100,000 pa and, with the IT worker pool standing at est. 600,000+ nationally it is not as though there is an obvious scarcity of skilled workers available for hire.

So at first it was not easy to explain this...... 

The Daily Telegraph, 20 July 2018. P.2:

Leaked details of a meeting between Roads and Maritime­ Services and seven companies bidding for a $100 million IT contract contradict­ state government denials that it mandated a 30 per cent quota of cut-price overseas workers.

The February 13 meeting, convened by chief information officer Rob Putter, came six days after the RMS called for tenders to provide IT services, on the condition that a “minimum” of 20 per cent of jobs would be sent overseas in the first year and 30 per cent in the second year.

Three Indian firms, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro, and Tech Mahindra, attended the meeting along with Fujitsu, Datacom, Accenture and Wollongong company itree, with 25 people in the room and 18 dialling in.

A source who attended the meeting said Mr Putter showed a PowerPoint slide titled RMS Pricing Principles which stated the RMS was “seeking to achieve the lowest­ possible cost” to provide­ the IT service.

The slide stated RMS’s “target offshore resource utilisation­” required 20 per cent of jobs offshore in year one, 30 per cent in year two and a “measured ongoing ­app­roach to increase offshore efforts” over the rest of the seven-year contract.

Photocopies of the slide were provided to attendees, who “discussed at length ... the need to offshore resources (jobs)”, the source said.

“The RMS personnel stated that it was mandated by the (Roads) Minister that to achieve the lowest price they need to seek offshore resources,” the source said. 

“This clearly makes a joke of the Minister’s denial that this tender mandated offshoring.” As The Daily Telegraph revealed last week, the RMS had called for companies to provide “development, testing, maintenance and service management for transport-related software applications and in-the-field hardware”.…..

The RMS announced Mr Putter’s resignation last week.

Despite NSW Government denials, the fact remains that it is highly likely that jobs were to be sourced overseas as the RMS IT operational budget blowout had reached $80 million in the 12 months to June 2018, following a $40 million blowout in the operational budget in the previous financial year.

It appears that Roads and Maritime Services has bungled its $1 billion IT systems upgrade with more bad news expected.

Dollars for mates?

Crikey.com.au, 2 August 2018:

New South Wales transport consultancy firm MU Group [MURPHY UDAYAN GROUP*] 
is under fire after six government contracts, none of which went to public tender, were awarded to the company after it hired former state roads minister 
Duncan Gay.

The Daily Telegraph ($) reports that the firm has been awarded contracts from the Roads and Maritime Services agency worth over $4.46 million after hiring the former department head as an “executive adviser” just weeks after Gay left parliament in late 2017. The firm has reportedly hired at least 11 former Roads and Maritime Services staff members, including two as directors, however Gay says he has “not been involved in any RMS contracts that MU have won”.

* Director and Founder of the MU Group Matthew Murphy is a former Roads and Maritime Service civil engineer in Project/Contract Management with extensive experience on infrastructure projects for urban roads, highways including Pacific Highway Upgrades.

Friday, 13 July 2018

How Trump's corporate tax cuts played out in the US economy



Crikey.com.au, 10 July 2018:

Evidence is now emerging of just how extraordinarily wasteful Donald Trump's trillion-dollar corporate tax cut has been as the results -- or lack thereof -- filter into the real US economy.

It's now well-established that the bulk of the tax cuts have gone into record-breaking share buybacks and increased dividends by US companies, with hundreds of billions of dollars flowing or set to flow back to investors. But not a lot of the rest is flowing into extra investment -- the raison d'etre of company tax cuts. New investment data shows US equipment investment fell in the first quarter of the year compared to the final quarter of 2017. How about wages, which are supposed to increase due to company tax cuts (at least according to Mathias Cormann)? In June, monthly wage growth in the US fell to 0.2% from 0.3% in March, lower than expected and leaving wage growth at 2.7% for the 2017-18 year. Inflation in the US was 2.8% for the year to May, suggesting US workers are actually going backwards after inflation.

US unemployment is at 4% (up a tad) — far below our own level of 5.5%. Like the Kiwis, the Americans can’t get wages to grow even with full employment — or even with tax cuts that have massively inflated the US deficit at a time of peak employment.

The fact that Trump and his GOP cronies have pushed the US budget deficit toward $1 trillion a year (remember when the Republicans were the party of fiscal restraint?) at a time of such strong employment also has implications for the stimulatory effect of such largesse. New research from the San Francisco Federal Reserve shows that fiscal stimulus is significantly weaker at times of expansion than during recessions, and that the Republican tax cuts will not meet what the paper terms the “overly optimistic” expectations of boosters. Instead of the boost to US GDP growth this year of about 1.3 percentage points estimated by the Congressional Budget Office and other forecasters, they write, “the true boost is more likely to be less than 1 percentage point,” with some studies pointing to as little as zero.....  

Read the full article here.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Australia 2018: just when registered jobseekers thought it couldn’t get any worse



The Guardian, 2 July 2018:

All across the country unemployed Australians are today bracing themselves for more stress and suffering, as the Coalition unleashes its new needlessly cruel benefit sanctions regime.

Starting 1 July, the Turnbull government is granting job agencies new, unprecedented powers to punish Newstart recipients for failing to comply with gruelling compliance demands.

Under this new “demerit point” system, agencies will now impose payment suspensions if (they believe) jobseekers are behaving inappropriately, or failing to attend appointments and activities like Work for the Dole without a“reasonable excuse”.

 Alarmingly, jobseekers currently battling drug or alcohol related illnesses are now no longer (“reasonably”) exempt from activities, nor safe from financial punishment.
Until 1 July 2018, Centrelink has been able to overturn any job agency penalties if it deems that they’re unfair or will lead to “extreme poverty”. It will lose much of this power. Now, job agencies will be able to punish their unemployed clients without government regulation or oversight.

Unemployed workers will also lose significant powers of appeal. They will have to passively accept many of the decisions ordered against them. In short, privately owned job agencies – many of which are for-profit private companies – will wield unlimited, unchecked power over the unemployed.

Under this system, unemployed workers can be completely cut off Newstart if they refuse to attend unsafe work for the dole activities. Even though 64% of sites are failing to meet basic safety standards, jobseekers will be forced to accept any dangerous, hostile conditions they’re met with.

Given that government funding to job agencies is tied to outcomes, such as placing participants into work for the dole, there is little incentive for job agencies to treat unemployed workers fairly. On the contrary – there are significant financial incentives to abuse unemployed workers. 

Already this abuse has reached crisis proportions.

In 2015-16, job agencies imposed a record 2m financial penalties on the unemployed.

As noted by the National Welfare Rights Network, roughly half of these penalties were found to be unfair and were rejected by Centrelink. This means that in 2015-16, more than 1 million unemployed people had their payments cut off when they did nothing wrong.

This kind of error rate is staggering – in any other sector, it would surely result in a royal commission. Earlier this year, a suspected 5% error rate at the Australian Tax Office resulted in an immediate government investigation.

Clearly, a culture of lawlessness and unaccountability already pervades the employment services sector. Under the new “demerit point’”scheme, this $10bn industry will enjoy even more freedom to run riot. The 800,000 unemployed workers attending job agencies will be left to fend for themselves.....

The author of this article is Jeremy Poxon, media officer for the Australian Unemployed Workers Union. 

Friday, 6 July 2018

The Lib-Nats class war continues apace and General Turnbull reminds us of another victory


On 1 July 2018 Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull proudly reminded his fellow Australians that the planned personal income tax cuts had started that day.




He was careful not to point out that to get that $530 tax refund next year this nurse or school teacher would have to earn above the average full-time wage in their respective professions.

Turnbull was also careful not to mention that these personal tax cuts excluded the lowest income earners - many of whom would be hit with the second tranche of penalty rate cuts which came into force on 1 July as well.

While the fact that on 1 July he just happens to get a 2 per cent parliamentary pay rise for the third year in a row, during a period of extremely low wage growth for ordinary workers, passes without mention as well.

It did not go unnoticed...........

The Guardian, 1 July 2018:

This week saw criticism of Labor starting a class war. But the real class war is being fought by those who seek to erase people on low and middle incomes from the debate. And too often the media are willing participants in this erasure.

Let us be honest: Australia is a nation whose politicians are for the most part drawn from similar socioeconomic (and education) backgrounds, covered by journalists who (including myself) come from similar backgrounds, and where any interruption to this course of events – such as when Ricky Muir was elected to the Senate – is greeted with a barely disguised level of condescension that someone not university educated or white collar has deigned to enter the sanctum.

It is a situation of course not solely devoted to income – gender and especially race are also major factors at play. In positions of power we remain a very white, relatively well-paid male nation (and I speak as one of that group).

It is not a situation without consequences.

Retirement age of 70? Well, that seems doable to one who sits behind a desk. The shift of jobs to the services sector? Well, after all, who would want to work in a factory? Low levels of industrial disputes? That must be good – let me quote some measure of international competitiveness while I pass over these record low wages growth and wonder at the coincidence.

It’s the type of thinking that has journalists asking “Is $120,000 the new rich” because that will generate a headline without even caring that it is more than double the median income.

And it is why I have little time for the theatre criticism that can infest political coverage where journalists writing for publications whose target audience is the very wealthiest in our society talk about how Labor’s “class war” attacks on Malcolm Turnbull are poor politics that won’t fly, and are divisive.

That’s pretty rich given today low-paid fast-food, hospitality, pharmacy and retail workers around the country are seeing cuts to their penalty rates.

Let us not fall into the trap of believing we can’t suggest that the situation and wealth of those in power has no impact on the policies they put forward, even while such policies actually benefit those same people who are putting them in place.

Oh no, we must instead keep to the myth that Australia is some egalitarian paradise where our history is one of everyone buckling down and working together to forge a nation against the odds. Bugger the rum rebellion, put John Macarthur on the $2 note, and bask in the warmth of misremembered history……

We see this erasure in his speeches where he talks of “school principals and police superintendents” to describe those deserving of a tax cuts as being somehow not wealthy – indeed as very much middle class.

The base level salary for a Victorian police superintendent is $154,412, the median salary for a Victorian school principal in 2015-16 was $113,446. That someone would use such incomes to talk up tax cuts says all you need to know about who he sees as the most deserving.

And here I must admit the media is often hostage to this erasure as well.

Upon the passing of the income tax cuts, one newspaper ran the line “What do low-medium income earners get?” and noted that “From July next year, Australians who earn up to $125,333 will get up to $530 cash-back when they lodge their tax return”.

In 2017 the median income was $52,988 and the top 10% of employees earned more than $109,668. Congratulations to those in the top 10%, you’re now officially middle-income Australia.

It means those who are actually middle and low-income workers are effectively erased from the debate – their situation ignored, and where to even raise it draws a rebuke – how dare you play the class war card! Why do you hate deserving middle class like the police superintendent?

The budget, despite what we might be led to believe, given the tax cuts that have just been passed without any savings measures attached, is not a magic pudding. Money spent on tax cuts to those presented as middle class but who are actually wealthy, means less money for those on actual low and middle incomes.

We do have a class war in Australia, and right now it is being won by those who not only would have you believe it is not occurring – and should not be mentioned – but who also would have you believe that those who are actually well off are doing it tough.

We need to be honest about who makes decisions in this country, how they are made and who they benefit. And we need to be honest about what is the reality for people on low and middle incomes. Failure to do so not only erases them from the debate, it ensures the system remains unchanged.

Read the full article here.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Liberal Party apparatchik lays out part of Turnbull Government workplace reform game plan?


More rabid than the most rabid Liberal and Nationals party members elected to the 45th Australian Parliament, former CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry & present inaugural Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, released a 4 page position paper on 27 April 2018. 

On those double-spaced A4s Ms. Carnell managed to lay out the what looks very like an Institute of Pubic Affairs-Coalition Government game plan.

Amongst other things found on this wish list are:

By-pass the Fair Work Commissioners by creating an "online dispute resolution tool as an early intervention to quickly resolve more straightforward termination disputes".


“small business must make good [on underpaid wages owed to workers] but there is to be "no prosecution, penalty or fine”

* “Lower the compensation cap, and reduce the cost and time of conciliation and settlement processes” with “maximum compensation limited to 13 rather than 26 week’s pay”.

* “Recognise and legally accept the common small business practice of paying a buffer above the minimum award wage on the assumption this will ‘take care’ of additional obligations” so that businesses do not have to meet the full legal conditions of employment.

* “Elevate substantive over procedural matters for unfair dismissal” - after all employers shouldn't have to fully comply with a Fair Work Commission code.

* Provide "free access to legal expertise" for employers, that is free access to private businesses involved in matters before the Fair Work Commission which is funded by the taxpayer.

* “The FWO to review the mechanism for providing definitive [free] advice so small businesses can have certainty and can rely on [in tribunal hearings] when defending a dispute to the FWC”.

* “tackle the behavior [sic] of those who do not do the right thing and gain unfair advantage”.

Earlier in the year on 31 January Ms. Carnell was in the media as Ombudsman decrying any reasonable increase in the national minimum wage.

So there you have it - supressed wages growth and less worker rights are on the agenda in the lead up to the forthcoming federal election.

Former hotelier, Australian Minister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation & current Liberal MP for Reid, Craig Laundy, is also "keen to make life easier for small and family businesses to navigate our complex industrial relations system"

He would be most pleased if businesses would "use their trust and friendship with their workers" to convince them that any changes to industrial relations legislation is going to turn their futures into paradise here on earth.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Micaelia Cash's bragging doesn't change the Abbott-Turnbull 'jobs and growth' numbers


On Thursday 19 April 2018 the Australian Minister for Jobs and Innovation and Liberal Senator for Western Australia Micaelia Cash stated: Since the Government came to office in September 2013, we have created a total of 996,800 jobs — an increase of 8.7 per cent.

What stands out for this voter is the small degree of change that has actually occurred when it come to those much vaunted 'jobs and growth' policies.

Bottom line is that in the years between the 2013 federal election when the Coalition Government came to power and the present day, the national unemployment rate has only fallen by half a percentage point and there are only four less job seekers competing for each job that becomes available.

In January 2014 the Australian population totalled est. 22.63 million, Tony Abbott had been prime minister for less than four months and seasonally adjusted there were an est.11,459,500 employed people across the country. This figure included wage employees, private contractors and business operators.

Up to an est. 1.5 million workers were being paid the National Minimum Wage.

Only 69 per cent of the 11.54 million had full-time jobs. Full-time employment decreased 7,100 to 7,953,000 and part-time employment increased 3,400 to 3,506,500.

Around 951,000 of these 11.45 million people in employment would be classified as underemployed, ie. they were employed in less than full-time or regular jobs or in jobs inadequate with respect to their training or economic needs. 

The workforce participation rate stood at 64.5% and the unemployment rate was 6.0%.

There were est. 728,600 people between 15 and 65 years of age who were unemployed and looking for work.

A total of 139,100 and 142,700 job vacancies were recorded for the months November 2013 and February 2014 respectively.

In January-February 2014 it was reported that there were 20 job seekers for every position currently available.

In March 2018 the Australian population totalled est. 24.90 million, Malcolm Turnbull had been prime minister for more than two years and there were seasonally adjusted an est.12,484,100 employed people across the country. This figure includes wage employees, private contractors and business operators.

Up to est. 1.8 million of these workers were being paid the National Minimum Wage.

Only 68 per cent of the 12.48 million had full-time jobs. Full-time employment decreased 19,900 to 8,514,100 and part-time employment increased 24,800 to 3,970,000.

Around 1.03 million of these 12.48 million people in employment would be classified as underemployed, ie. they were employed in less than full-time or regular jobs or in jobs inadequate with respect to their training or economic needs. It is likely that around 3 per cent  of this group were employed in low-paying and insecure jobs via federal government Jobactive placements.

The workforce participation rate stood at 65.5% and the unemployment rate was 5.5%.

There were est. 730,200 people between 15 and 65 years of age who were unemployed and looking for work.

There had been 220,800 job vacancies recorded by the end of February 2018.

In March 2018 it was reported that there were 16 job seekers for every position currently available.


Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Fair Work Ombudsman begins another weary audit which will inevitably discover more employers behaving like criminals


Despite wage growth falling to record lows last year, the Australian Minister for Jobs and Innovation WA Liberal Senator Michaelia Cash continues to talk down any need for a substantial national minimum wage increase and praises the good will of employers big and small.

It seems she just refuses to accpet the evidence of her own eyes.......

The Guardian, 11 April 2018:

On Wednesday the Fair Work Ombudsman announced an audit targeting the fast food, restaurant and cafe sector which will penalise businesses exploiting vulnerable workers, including students, casual staff and immigrants.

It follows numerous high-profile cases of workers being exploited, including a cook who was employed by Bar Coluzzi in Sydney on a 457 skilled worker visa who was told by her boss to repay $13,952 of her wages to cover tax and superannuation contributions. She was also working excessive unpaid overtime.

The convenience story chain 7-Eleven was found by a Senate inquiry to have been forcing workers to go to ATMs to withdraw and pay back wages. The panel investigating 7-Eleven told the inquiry it had made 188 determinations that 7-Eleven was liable to pay workers a total of $4.36m, with workers being underpaid an average of $23,000 each.

A Fair Work Ombudsman spokesman told Guardian Australia that intelligence from a range of sources found failing to pay the correct hourly base, penalty and overtime rates, and ignoring record-keeping and payslip requirements were consistent issues.

In 2016–17, 44% of the hospitality workers assisted by the ombudsman to resolve workplace disputes were aged under 26, and 31% were visa holders. Despite the hospitality industry employing around 7% of Australia’s workforce, it accounted for the highest number (17%) of disputes. It was also the industry with the highest number of anonymous reports received (36%), infringement notices issued (39%) and court actions commenced (27%).

While workers under the age of 25 account for about 15% of the Australian working population, they were involved in 28% of workplace disputes the ombudsman took on in 2017. Migrant workers make up 6% of the Australian workforce, however 18% of workplace disputes involved a visa holder.

The ombudsman has begun auditing 1,000 businesses across the country and investigators will check the time and wage records of randomly selected businesses, especially those employing a large numbers of vulnerable workers. Companies involved in serious contraventions will face penalties of up to $630,000 per contravention. The maximum penalty for individuals is now $126,000 per contravention. Failing to keep employee records or issue pay slips attracts a penalty up to $63,000 for a company and $12,600 for an individual.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Corporate tax cuts lead to 'jobs and growth' in Australia? Pull the other one!


This Business Council of Australia survey was apparently mothballed when initial results indicated that it would reveal the truth about outcomes flowing from the Turnbull Government’s planned corporate tax cuts - a distinct lack of jobs and wages growth.

Financial Review, 27 March 2018:

Fewer than one in five of Australia's leading chief executives say they will use the Turnbull government's proposed company tax cut to directly increase wages or employ more staff, according to a secret survey conducted by the Business Council of Australia.

More than 80 per cent said they would either use the proceeds to boost returns to shareholders or invest in the company.

The explosive revelation comes as the government is still struggling to secure the final two Senate votes needed to pass the remainder of the $65 billion package.
The survey follows a letter to all Senators last week by the BCA and 10 of the nation's top chief executive officers in which they pledged to reinvest the proceeds of the tax cuts with the ultimate aim of increasing wages.

"If the Senate passes this important legislation we, as some of the nation's largest employers, commit to invest more in Australia which will lead to employing more Australians and therefore stronger wage growth as the tax cut takes effect," the letter said.

But The Australian Financial Review has learned that the BCA directly surveyed the chief executives of its 130-plus members about a company tax cut this year, in the wake of the company tax rate cut in the United States.

The chief executives were asked which of four options they would nominate as their preferred response to the company tax cut in Australia.

These were: returning funds to shareholders; more investment; increasing the wages of their existing workforce; or increasing employment.

More than 80 per cent nominated one of the first two options while only 16 per cent to 17 per cent nominated higher wages or employment.

The survey results are understood to have been tightly held but were reported on internally in a memo entitled "the good news and the bad news".

A spokesman for the BCA confirmed the survey to the Financial Review on Monday but downplayed its significance…….

This lobby group has now decided that 'spin' is more important than fact and senators have all received a BCA video appeal promising well-paid and meaningful jobs and wages growth that only growing investment can deliver if the comapny tax cits are passed.

A neat trick given that its members are also arguing before the Fair Work Commission Annual Wage Review 2017-18 that the minimum wage should remain as is or only be increased by 34-35 cents an hour which represents no growth in real wages.


The vague, slyly worded non-promise to lift workers wages received by Senators



Google some of the businesses on this short list and one finds an unflattering employer history with regard to employee wages and job terms & conditions.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Turnbull Government, business and industry still out to suppress minimum wage


According to the Australian Treasury in November 2017;  

On a variety of measures, wage growth is low....

However, weaker labour productivity growth seems unlikely to be a cause of the current period of slow wage growth in Australia. Over the past five years, labour productivity in Australia has grown at around its 30-year average annual growth rate....

An examination of wage growth by employee characteristics using the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey and administrative taxation data suggests that recent subdued wage growth has been experienced by the majority of employees, regardless of income or occupation.....

This is true across the States and Territories, across industries, and across both the public and private sectors. Real wage growth – wage growth relative to the increase in prices in the economy – has also been low.

The Reserve Bank of Australia suggests in its March Quarter 2017 Bulletin that there is"

...some tentative evidence that the relationship between wage growth and labour market conditions may have changed, and that this may help to explain recent low wage growth. Using job-level micro wage data, we also find that, since 2012, wage increases have been less frequent and wage growth outcomes have become much more similar across jobs.


Being paid at the minimum wage rate means that a worker is paid the lowest hourly income for his/her labour that is legally allowable.

At the beginning of the 21st Century (January 2001) the national minimum wage was $10.53 per hour or $400.40 per 38 hour week (before tax).

The current national minimum wage is $18.29 per hour or $694.90 per 38 hour week (before tax) according to the Fair Work Commission.

That represents a rise of $7.76 an hour over the course of 17 years - the equivalent of 45 cents a year.

Not a spectacular hourly base wage growth by any measure.

In March 2018 the Australian Federation of Employers and Industries (AFEI), Australian Retailers Association, Restaurant & Catering Industrial (RCI), Australian Business Industrial and the NSW Business Chamber Ltd (along with eight other industry representatives) made initial submissions to the Fair Work Commission Annual Wage Review 2017-18.

It will come as no surprise that any decent rise in the minimum wage is being resisted in these submissions.

A number of business and industry representatives appear to believe that even raising the minimum wage hourly rate by as little as 34-35 cents is an onerous burden.

Frequent mention is made of the supposed part the businesses they represent play in national ‘jobs and growth’ and the risk wage increases allegedly pose.

A notion supported by the Turnbull Government’s own submission.

Couched in polite terms within their submissions is the last resort position of both the federal government and big business. 

It seems they are reluctantly willing to accept a minimum wage increase that doesn't rise by more than 1.9% (rate of inflation in December 2017) and definitely resist the idea of a rise that actually results in real wages growth.

However, there is another less polite aspect of the part businesses play in the lives of workers and it should be remembered when listening to business and industry representatives make their wage case during media appearances.

The Australian Government Fair Work Ombudsman’s 2018 media releases offer a window on that other aspect which includes a widespread contempt for both workers and the law.

 Media release, 16 March 2018:

Western Sydney campaign reveals high rates of unlawful workplaces

High rates of non-compliance uncovered by the Fair Work Ombudsman in Western Sydney have reinforced the importance of ensuring that Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities have ready access to workplace information and advice.

The Fair Work Ombudsman today released the results of its proactive education and compliance campaign in the region, covering suburbs including Cabramatta, Guildford, Mt Druitt, Fairfield and Merrylands.

Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of the 197 businesses audited by the Fair Work Ombudsman during the campaign were found to be non-compliant with workplace laws.

The campaign led to a total of $369,324 in unpaid wages and entitlements being recovered for 199 workers.

Sixty-four per cent of businesses were compliant with record-keeping and payslip requirements, while just 58 per cent were paying their employees correctly.

The campaign was initiated following an increase in the number of requests for assistance received from some parts of the region in previous years, despite an overall decrease across New South Wales in the same period.

As part of the campaign, Fair Work inspectors conducted site visits with a particular focus on Harris Park and Parramatta in response to intelligence received by the agency indicating potential non-compliance amongst restaurants in the area.

The suburbs are also home to a higher than average proportion of migrants, with both Harris Park (85 per cent) and Parramatta (74 per cent) at more than twice the national average of 30.2 per cent.

Acknowledging that new arrivals to Australia may have a limited awareness of Australian workplace laws, it was considered that businesses in the region would benefit from tailored support and education from the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Only two of the 23 businesses visited in these suburbs were found to be fully compliant – a non-compliance rate of 91 per cent.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the non-compliance rates uncovered by the campaign are highly concerning and cannot be tolerated.

“Where possible, we seek to educate employers and employees about their workplace rights and obligations and equip them with the tools and information they need to ensure they are complying with the law,” Ms James said.

“This area has a large proportion of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, who can find it more challenging to navigate that information or even know where to find it in the first place.

“When combined with a lack of familiarity with workplace laws, language barriers can present significant difficulties to employers seeking to understand and comply with their obligations. 

“The results of this campaign reaffirm the importance of my agency’s work in reaching out to culturally and linguistically diverse communities to raise awareness of the help we can provide.

“We are also making more and more of our tools and resources available in multiple languages, including our Anonymous Report function and the Record My Hours app,” Ms James said.

“Our website can also be viewed in 40 languages other than English with a simple click of the mouse with our new website translator.

“With the wealth of free information and resources available to help businesses understand their obligations, there are no excuses for breaching workplace laws.”
Overall, Fair Work inspectors issued 26 formal cautions, 20 infringement notices (on-the-spot fines) and 11 compliance notices to non-compliant businesses during the course of the campaign.

In one matter, a restaurant business was found to be paying its casual employees under an old award, resulting in a total underpayment of $10,444 to three employees. Fair Work inspectors issued the employer with a compliance notice, and the employees were fully back-paid in accordance with the notice.

Ms James said that non-compliant businesses were now on notice that future breaches could result in serious enforcement action.

“We are happy to work with businesses who require advice and support to meet their workplace obligations, and we will continue our work to ensure our materials are easily accessible to those that need them,” Ms James said.

“Indeed, we were pleased that the employers that we dealt with over the course of this campaign were cooperative and willing to engage with our inspectors, and that all contraventions were willingly rectified.

“We will continue to pursue new initiatives aimed at engaging with businesses in the region to ensure they have access to the help and information they need.”

Ms James reaffirmed however that her agency will not hesitate to take action where deliberate or repeated breaches of the law were identified.

“Employers who fail to put in place processes to ensure compliance expose themselves to enforcement action, including litigation in the most serious cases,” Ms James said.

Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50. 

Potential workplace breaches can be anonymously reported in 16 languages other than English using the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Anonymous Report function at www.fairwork.gov.au/inlanguageanonymousreport.

The Fair Work Ombudsman recently developed six videos in 16 languages other than English to help visa holders to understand their workplace rights. These and other in-language resources are available at www.fairwork.gov.au/languages.

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s Record My Hours app is aimed at tackling the persistent problem of underpayment of vulnerable workers by using geo-fencing technology to provide workers with a record of the time they spend at their workplace. The app is available in a number of different languages and can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.

Follow Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James on Twitter @NatJamesFWO external-icon.png, the Fair Work Ombudsman @fairwork_gov_au External link icon or find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/fairwork.gov.au External link icon.

Sign up to receive the Fair Work Ombudsman’s media releases direct to your email inbox at www.fairwork.gov.au/mediareleases.  

Read the Western Sydney Campaign report (PDF 445.5KB)  [my yellow highlighting]

Media Release, 5 March 2018:
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s latest Compliance Activity Report shows a workplace non-compliance rate of 76 per cent in the Caltex service network…..
The Fair Work Ombudsman commenced proceedings against the former operator of the Caltex Five Dock service station in Sydney, Aulion Pty Ltd, and has also initiated proceedings against Abdul Wahid and Sons Pty Ltd, the former franchisee of a number of Caltex outlets in Sydney.
In both cases, the Fair Work Ombudsman alleges that the absence of accurate time and wage records prevented inspectors from completing audits and determining whether employees had received their lawful entitlements.
During the activity, the regulator issued nine infringement notices, 11 compliance notices and 16 formal cautions to non-compliant franchisees.
Inspectors also recovered a total of $9,329.85 in back-pay for 26 workers who were underpaid during a one-month assessment period.
Ms James said the agency believes the figure would be higher if underpayments could have been accurately calculated, but with so many deficiencies in the outlets’ records it is impossible to be sure of the true extent of the wage rip-offs. 
“There’s no question that if these findings indicate the norm in this network, and if these underpayments are replicated throughout the business month after month, we are quickly looking at millions of dollars of underpayments over the course of a few years,” Ms James said…..

Media Release, 2 March 2018:
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against the former franchisee of a 7-Eleven retail outlet in the Melbourne CBD for allegedly exploiting three international students through a cash-back scheme.
Facing Court are Xia Jing Qi Pty Ltd, which operated a 7-Eleven retail store on William Street until March 2017, and the store’s former manager, Ai Ling “Irene” Lin.
It is alleged that after 7-Eleven head office set up a high-tech payroll system in 2016 aimed at ensuring employees were paid lawful minimum rates, the company and Ms Lin tried to disguise underpayments of three employees by requiring them to pay back thousands of dollars in wages.  
The three employees were Chinese students, aged between 21 and 24, who were in Australia on student visas. Ms Lin, from Taiwan, was also in Australia on a student visa…..

Media Release, 27 Feb 2018:
The Fair Work Ombudsman has brought proceedings relating to redundancy entitlements, in a new legal action against services company Spotless Services Australia Limited for allegedly contravening workplace laws when it terminated the employment of three workers at Perth International Airport.

Media Release, 26 Feb 2018:
The operator of a Degani café in Melbourne’s north-east is facing Court after he allegedly used false records to conceal more than $12,000 in underpayments of staff, including teenagers and overseas workers.

Media Release, 21 Feb 2018:
The operators of a Melbourne restaurant have been hit with nearly $200,000 in penalties, after a Judge ruled they deliberately underpaid workers.

Media Release, 20 Feb 2018
A Perth security company has been penalised in Court for underpaying its guards more than $200,000, with a Judge saying the company’s claim that it thought overpaying in relation to minimum rates would “counteract” other rates of pay was a “lame excuse”.

Media Release, 16 Feb 2018:
The operator of a number of massage parlours in Adelaide who said he was “too busy and lazy” to keep proper records has been penalised for contraventions of record-keeping and pay slip laws, following legal action by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Media Release, 15 Feb 2018:
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against a Bundaberg-based transport company for allegedly underpaying an employee more than $11,000 over a period of just nine months.

Media Release, 14 Feb 2018:
Cleaning contractors at 90 per cent of Woolworths’ Tasmanian supermarket sites were not complying with workplace laws, a Fair Work Ombudsman Inquiry has found.

Media Release, 13 Feb 2018:
Michael Patrick Pulis, a business operator who told his employee to “seriously, f**k off…” when the worker asked when he would receive money owed to him, has been penalised $21,500.
Judge Grant Riethmuller also penalised Mr Pulis’ company, Pulis Plumbing Pty Ltd, a further $100,000 after a plumber’s labourer, who was 20 years old at the time, was underpaid by $26,882 over just three months.
Judge Riethmuller described the conduct as “outrageous exploitation of a young person”, adding that the behaviour was “such to arouse much emotion” and “nothing short of avarice”.
The worker was underpaid when he was employed by Pulis Plumbing to perform work in the Melbourne, Geelong and Bendigoareas between September and December, 2014.

Media Release, 8 Feb 2018:
A Northern Territory refuge for women and children victims of domestic violence has back-paid 11 employees a total of more than $50,000, after intervention by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Media Release, 6 Feb 2018:
The operator of a remote Northern Territory homestead is facing major penalties after underpaying 17 employees more than $23,000.

Media Release, 24 Jan 2018:
A sushi outlet operator and an accountant have been penalised almost $200,000 for their involvement in an unlawful internship program that exploited young overseas workers.

Media Release, 22 Jan 2018:
A Brisbane labour hire business will face court for allegedly underpaying 10 employees more than $14,000 through an unlawful unpaid work experience program.

Media Release, 17 Jan 2018:
Ten truck drivers who worked for an Adelaide transport company have been back-paid a total of $374,000 following successful legal action by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Media Release, 16 Jan 2018:
The former manager of an Oliver Brown chocolate café outlet on the Gold Coast who was ‘seeing what he could get away with’ when he exploited overseas workers has been penalised $27,200.

Media Release, 12 Jan 2018:
The Fair Work Ombudsman recently assisted workers at four businesses in suburbs south east of Melbourne to recover almost $50,000 in unpaid wages and entitlements.

Media Release, 9 Jan 2018:
A Judge has penalised a repeat-offender Melbourne childcare operator $85,000 for her latest staff underpayments, saying she required a “sharp lesson” to make her appreciate her legal obligations.

Then there is the naked exploitation outlined in the November 2017 UNSW-UTS study, WAGE THEFT IN AUSTRALIA: Findings of the National Temporary Migrant Work Survey:

A substantial proportion of international students, backpackers and other temporary migrants were paid around half the legal minimum wage in Australia…..

Underpayment was widespread across numerous industries but was especially prevalent in food services, and especially severe in fruit and vegetable picking.

Two in five participants (38%) had their lowest paid job in cafes, restaurants and takeaway shops. This was a far greater proportion than for any other type of job….

Large-scale wage theft was prevalent across a range of industries, but the worst paid jobs were in fruit- and vegetable-picking and farm work….

The study confirms that wage theft is endemic among international students, backpackers and other temporary migrants in Australia. For a substantial number of temporary migrants, it is also severe.

Besides wages theft, employers have also developed a penchant for pocketing workers superannuation.

News.com.au, 30 August 2017:

 …it turns out that Australia’s compulsorary superannuation system has a great big hole in it — one worth $17 billion.

That’s how much super employers have dodged paying in the past eight years, according to new figures released by the ATO this week.

The ATO analysis found that employees had likely missed out on $2.85 billion of their super guarantee payments during the 2014/15 financial year, because employers dodged their obligations, with small business owners among the worst offenders.