News

Ripped-off School Cleaners Fight Back and Win!

In 2018, United Voice members lead the charge to reform the School Cleaning industry in Victoria. Our report found that 80.54% of School Cleaners had been underpaid on average $3100 per year. That means cleaners in this industry were missing out on MILLIONS in unpaid entitlements.

One example of those who were ripped-off are cleaners - and husband and wife - Hector and Rosa who were underpaid for almost 10 years while they worked at the Parkwood Green Primary School in Victoria.

When the reforms came in and they got new employers, it became apparent that their old rate was incorrect.

Luckily they were members of their School Cleaning Union and they fought to be paid back what they were owed!

Hector and Rosa won back over $45,000 in unpaid wages and super. This story is a familiar one to many in the School Cleaning union who not only have been able to reclaim thousands from wage theft but are also had an increased in their wage of up to $10 an hour. Some school cleaners were receiving as little as $12.5 an hour!

The Victorian Government's reforms meant that in, metropolitan Melbourne, 1750 different school cleaning contracts were simplified to just 8 contract zones covering different sections of Melbourne.

The new systems hasn't been perfect and we've had to pressure the Victorian government into fixing the problems which has seen them punishing some contractors for not giving cleaners enough hours. But the new system means we can enforce accountability and we've already seen many who have benefited from the changes. Union members will continue to improve the system to build a fairer and more sustainable school cleaning industry.

But we can only do it by being united as a union! As Hector said "We are union because the union fights for the workers rights, we will always fight for the workers rights."

Join your School Cleaning Union today!


United Voice National Election Results

The AEC’s Post Election Report is available here

Attachments to the Post Election Report here and here

A copy of the report is available from the union’s national office, your branch or the AEC on request.

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Professional Childcare Standard 2018

The Professional Childcare Standard 2018 is now available to read online, along with the pay rates and class-action structure.

Please click the below links to access these documents.

Professional Childcare Standard 2018: A Workplace Agreement for Staff in Victorian Early Childhood Education and Care.

SCHEDULE ONE – PAY RATES AND CLASSIFICATION STRUCTURE

 

 


How does the Federal Budget affect you and your super?

Income tax cuts for low and middle income workers, aged care support services and infrastructure funding were some of the key proposals in this year’s Federal Budget.

For super, the announcement included removing compulsory life insurance from the super accounts of young people and reuniting many Australians with their lost or inactive super accounts.

Read AustralianSuper’s budget summary and find out more about the proposed changes.


Australian Super named top super performer of 2017

AustralianSuper’s Balanced option was the best performing fund for the year, and also ranked in the top three for the 3, 5 and 7 years to 31 December 2017.* 

The Balanced option returned 13.59% against the median option’s return of 10.72% for the year, and 11.11% against the median option’s return of 9.66% for the five years to 31 December 2017. 

The Balanced option for retirement income accounts returned 14.88% for the year, and 12.36% for the five years to 31 December 2017

This was the best calendar year return in five years, with all other investment options delivering positive returns. Those with higher weightings to shares were the strongest performers.

Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Investment Officer, Mark Delaney, said: “2017 marked a significant milestone in the recovery of the global economy, with improvement across all areas. We’re starting to see synchronised growth in four of the world’s largest economies; the US, China, Europe and Japan.”

“Investors became more confident as concerns about the health of the global economy and financial markets waned. This was reflected in the strong returns across world share markets, with the US, Japan and Australian Resource companies the standout performers.” 

Click to read the performance highlights and more.


United Voice Election Notice

UNITED VOICE Victorian Branch

 

ELECTION NOTICE

Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009

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30,000 workers move a step closer to well earned break

Cleaners and guards across Victoria welcome today’s news that the Andrews Labor Government will introduce legislation for a statewide portable long service leave scheme.

A Victorian scheme will end a long-standing injustice that has seen 30,000 guards and cleaners denied this basic entitlement, and will be an important step towards making jobs in these highly insecure industries more reliable. 

Guards and cleaners often work at the same site for much of their career, but due to contractor changes move to a new employer on average every four and a half years. 

Access to portable long service leave means more than just a well earned break for these workers. Cleaners and guards are at very high risk of illness and injury due to shift work and long days - sometimes working shifts of 12 hours or longer. Long service leave provides an opportunity to recover and prevent illnesses, including sleep and mood disorders and cardiovascular disease. 

Portable long service schemes benefit business too by improving retention and productivity and reducing noncompliance problems. 

This scheme will be a life-changing reform for the 74% of security guards and 61% of cleaners who cannot access long service leave because of contract changes in their industries. It is estimated that 10,000 security guards and 20,000 cleaners will be eligible under the scheme. 

Quotes attributable to Jess Walsh, Secretary, United Voice Victoria: 

“Right now guards and cleaners are treated like second class citizens and miss out on many of the basic entitlements we take for granted. Our members have fought hard to fix this injustice and win jobs they can count on. 

“Today’s news is another step towards a scheme which will mean 30,000 hard-working cleaners and guards will be have a well-earned break. They will be able to spend time with family, to recuperate from hard, physical work, or to take a holiday.”

“Congratulations to the United Voice members over many years who have campaigned for this change. We are now one step closer to cleaning and security jobs we can count on, and long service leave we can count on.” 

Quotes attributable to Ken Howarth, Cleaner at Arts Centre Melbourne, United Voice member

“I’ve worked at Art Centre Melbourne for 11 years, and had two employers. My job is the same, all that changes is the logo on my uniform and that my accrued long service leave goes back to zero each time the boss changes.”

“It’s not fair that because of contract changes I’m not able to access long service leave like every other Victorian worker.”

“Cleaning is hard, physical work and we work around the clock. Long service leave would have meant I could take time off for my body to recover, take time with my family, and maybe take a holiday.”

Media contact: Reed Fleming, United Voice, 0478 699 883 
Ken Howarth will be available for interviews and photos at Victorian State Parliament at 11am, Tuesday 27th March

ENDS

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Notice to members: roll of eligible voters

The registered rules of United Voice make extensive provision for the compilation of the roll of voters in the forthcoming election. The Secretary is required to compile and certify an electoral roll which contains the names and addresses of all members who are entitled to a vote in accordance with the rules. The roll so certified is supplied to the Australian Electoral Commission which conducts the elections for United Voice.

Rule 41 of the registered rules of United Voice sets out the basis upon which members are eligible to be included on the roll and therefore entitled to vote.  The rule is designed to maximise the opportunities for members to be included on the roll and to vote.

The rule also obliges the Secretary to write to all employers who administer payroll deduction schemes to ensure that all payroll deductions are remitted to the United Voice   branch office.

Any member who believes that he or she should be or should have been included on the roll and who is not on the roll may complain to the Secretary.  A decision of the Secretary adverse to the members may be appealed to a special disputes committee established for that purpose under the rules.

Members wishing to consult the actual rule are advised to read Rule 41 of the registered rules.  A full copy of this rule is available from your local United Voice branch office upon request.


Worker at Melbourne's iconic Chin Chin underpaid $9,454 in eight months

A bartender from high-end restaurant Chin Chin will go to court today to recover thousands of dollars in unpaid wages after working 14-hour days and over 50 hours a week in the latest wage theft scandal to rock Australia’s booming hospitality sector.

Multiple past and present Chin Chin staff have spoken out about its toxic workplace culture of fear, bullying and wage theft. Chin Chin staff say they are routinely expected to work between 10 and 20 hours a week of unpaid overtime.

Chin Chin, famed for its long queues and no reservations policy, is owned by hospitality king Chris Lucas. Lucas’s seven venues include newly opened Chin Chin Sydney and Melbourne’s Kisumé where set dinners start at $120 per person.

This morning bartender Sorcha Harrop, a  24-year-old woman represented by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, will submit an application to the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court to recover $9,454 in stolen wages and superannuation, earned while working at Chin Chin from October 2016 to July 2017.

The revelations come as hospitality union United Voice today releases the damning results of its inaugural Hospo Wage Theft Investigation, revealing an industry built on stealing workers’ pay, and systematic breaches of workplace laws.

The survey of 624 Victorian hospitality workers in cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs found:

  • 76% of workers paid below the Award, missing out on minimum wages and/or penalty rates for working evenings, weekends and public holidays.
  • Some reported pay of just $10 an hour, representing an underpayment of $29,298 a year for a full-time casual shift worker working Tues-Sat.
  • 35% paid cash-in-hand.
  • 51% work unpaid overtime, with many working 20+ hours a week for no pay.

Quotes attributable to Jess Walsh, United Voice Victorian Secretary:

“Melburnians are incredibly proud of our world-class food and wine culture, but this industrial-scale wage theft will leave people feeling sick to their stomachs.

“That Chin Chin has been caught out stealing thousands of dollars from their workers shows that this is an industry that rots from the head down. At the same time as they are pocketing workers’ overtime and penalty rates they are spending millions expanding their empire and building Chin Chin Sydney.”

“If workers stole from the till, they could go to jail. But when employers steal from their workers, all they have to do is pay it back. How’s that fair? The rules are broken, and hospo workers are fed up. They are speaking out and saying enough.”

Quotes attributable to Ged Kearney, ACTU President:

“Exploitation and underpayment is systemic in hospitality. Not only in the high-profile restaurants that attract this kind of attention, but across the sector. We need to change the rules to protect workers in hospitality.”

“Wage theft is a business model that’s booming under the Turnbull Government. Employers risk nothing by underpaying wages because the most they can be asked to do is pay them back.”

“The laws which were meant to protect workers are failing. We need systemic change to ensure that workers are receiving their legal entitlements.”

 Quotes attributable to Sorcha Harrop, former Chin Chin bartender:

“I worked at Chin Chin for about nine months. Chin Chin is one of Melbourne’s hottest restaurants.” 

“At Chin Chin it’s the workers and quality of service that defines this venue. But some of us are working 14 hour days and doing at least 12 hours of free labour each week.” 

“I’ve had over $9000 in wages and superannuation stolen from me in just 8 months.” 

“The Lucas group has seven venues and is about to open an eighth. It makes me sick that Chris Lucas spending millions building his empire while all this is going on.”  

FACTS ABOUT CHIN CHIN & CHRIS LUCAS

  • Chin Chin is owned by 56-year-old Melbourne restaurant king Chris Lucas.
  • Chin Chin Melbourne opened in 2011 and is famous for its Asian glam, casual elegance and a no reservations policy, with people queuing up to two hours for a table. 
  • Chris Lucas’s Lucas Group owns six restaurants across Melbourne including Chin Chin, Go Go, Hawker Hall, Baby, Kong BBQ and Kisumé.
  • In 2016 the Lucas Group launched its own beer brand Shiki, available in its restaurants and at selected retailers.
  • In May 2017 Chris Lucas opened Kisumé a premium three level Japanese restaurant in Flinders Lane, where dinner on a set menu starts from $120 pp.[1]
  • On 2 October 2017 Chris Lucas opened his seventh restaurant, Chin Chin Sydney in the famous Griffiths Teas building after $1mil refurbishment.
  • Earlier this year it was announced famed Chef Martin Benn and his partner Vicki Wild will close the three-hatted Sydney restaurant Sepia to join Lucas in his eighth restaurant: a new top-tier restaurant in Melbourne next year.[2]
  • The Lucas Group employs approximately 1000 staff, including 200 chefs.[3]
  • In 2014, Chris Lucas was reported to have sold his Toorak mansion at 14 St Georges Rd for $24mil.[4]
  • Lucas has claimed fairness is at the heart of who he is: "Geelong is where I laid my foundations for what I’m philosophically on about today – strongly working class, a real belief in a fair go.”[5]

 


[1] http://kisume.com.au/PDF/Private-Dining-and-Events-Information-Pack.pdf

[2] http://www.afr.com/brand/australias-top-restaurants/hatted-restaurant-sepia-set-to-close-its-doors-20170329-gv9mcr

[3] https://www.theweeklyreview.com.au/meet/culinary-king-chris-lucas-conquered-melbourne-dining/

[4] https://www.domain.com.au/news/david-prior-pays-almost-24-million-in-undertheradar-toorak-mansion-sale-20141220-12bg7d/

[5] https://www.theweeklyreview.com.au/meet/culinary-king-chris-lucas-conquered-melbourne-dining/


Equality Is Union Business

Having the validity of our members' relationships questioned through a divisive and non-binding postal survey is not something we’d ever support. But as long as it was going ahead, union members across the country vowed to win it. And we did.

Here’s what MICA paramedic and union member, Morgyn had to say as we stood with her on the steps of the State Library to hear the results:

"Today — Australians in every state, workers, young people, people of colour and of faith, (and yes, paramedics like me) have said loud and proud that love is love and that we demand marriage equality right now. I am so happy and relieved.

As a paramedic I’m trusted every day to care for Australians when you need us most - I’m trusted to save lives. But when I finish work I’m a second class citizen. The debate about my relationship, and the harm inflicted on so many LGBTIQ kids upset me every day.

But today’s big YES vote fills me with hope.

It reminds me that when we come together, when we stand up for our values, when we fight for equality — when we put our union values into practice - we win.

United Voice members said loud and clear that love is love, and 81% of members said we’d be voting yes.

And we helped make that yes vote a reality. We called, we messaged, we door-knocked and we marched proudly to remind union members and the community to enrol and to vote yes.

Standing up for equality is what the union movement is about – I am so proud to be part of our great movement.

To my LGBTQI comrades — we did it.

To our allies — thank you.

To the Australian Parliament — no more excuses. It’s time to make this law."