News

Portable Long Service Leave critical

As Australias jobs debate heats up, workers in the growing services sector say they are missing out on basic entitlements, and are calling on the Victorian Government to follow other states and introduce a portable long service leave scheme.

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Grand final beer strike called off

Footy fans can breathe easier after union members called off a 24-hour strike at CUB’s Abbotsford brewery planned for today following a last-ditch wage offer.

Yesterday hundreds of United Voice brewery members strongly endorsed a new three-year deal that protects a 130 year tradition of good, secure jobs at CUB’s Victorian breweries.

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90% of guards vote YES to approve new Safeguard Agreement with Wilson Security

Wilson Guards are celebrating this week as 90% voted YES to their new Agreement. The Agreement protects their hard won Safeguard conditions, including shift penalties and public holiday, as well as securing back pay and fair wages.

To find out more, read the full update here.

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MEDIA RELEASE: Cleaners say homelessness likely if penalty rates are abolished

Forget about home ownership, if the Abbott government embraces a plan by Australia’s peak employer lobby group to abolish weekend rates, cleaners will struggle just to pay the rent.

Father Bob Maguire will today join hundreds of angry cleaners at 2.30pm at Trades Hall, for International Justice for Cleaners Day, to march on the Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s (ACCI) Melbourne office demanding it withdraws its proposal to strip penalty rates from Awards.

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Cleaner Gamal Babiker on the Fair Work Commission's minimum wage decision

The Age this morning features cleaner and proud United Voice member, Gamal Babiker, speaking out on why the meager ‎minimum wage increase is an insult to everyone struggling on a low income. He's also been quoted on SBS and Channel 9.

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From The Age:

Minimum-wage worker Gamal Babiker, 61, said the $16 weekly wage rise would do nothing to improve his life and ease financial stress. The Broadmeadows shopping centre cleaner, who works five days a week from midnight to 8am, said he was feeling the pinch of petrol prices which had skyrocketed since he moved to Australia from Sudan 16 years ago.

"The petrol price it was 50 cents a litre, and how much are they now. Will this help cover the difference? No," he said. "It will barely cover the cost of an extra cup of coffee every day."

Mr Babiker said he had accrued about $60,000 in superannuation, and feared it would not be enough to provide a comfortable life when he retires.

"I am not happy now, and I won't be happy in the future."

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Security members win breakthrough in negotiations with Wilson

Wilson has finally listened to guards’ concerns and agreed to protect shift penalties and public holiday pay for the life of the new Safeguard agreement! This is a huge breakthrough after the company tried for almost a year of negotiations to pursue either a full or partial cutback of the shift penalties and public holiday system.

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Please don't cut penalty rates. It's the only way I can feed my kids and pay my bills

By United Voice hospitality member, Mary O'Connor

This post originally appeared on the Guardian on 2 April 2015

I’m grieving the loss of the Australia I used to know, as various employer groups and politicians again attempt to make the case for a more “flexible” workplace relations system with more “competitive wages”. What happened to the land of the fair go – the Australia where there weren’t so much haves and have nots, but rather haves and haves-a-bit-less?

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Change is inevitable, I know, but change for the worse is terrible. While China and other countries are pulling their people out of poverty, our current leaders seem intent on grinding ours into it.

Wistfully I’m remembering an Australia where people were paid an honest rate for an honest job. Where penalty rates for working weekends, nights or holidays were seen as the fair and decent thing and where no one would have had the temerity to call penalty rates “obscene” and to expose themselves as the greedy buggers they are.

I know a bit about working weekends and relying on penalty rates to support my family. I work in catering in an aged care facility. It’s unglamorous but essential work. And while our prime minister might suggest that “if you don’t want to work on a weekend, fair enough don’t work on a weekend,” I think the elderly people we care for deserve good meals every day of the week and that means I work weekends.

 

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Unions are shaping up for the biggest fight in a generation

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This piece originally appeared on SBS News on March 4 2015 

Tony Abbott might not realise it, but the war on penalty rates being waged by employers – and signed up to by his Government – is shaping up to be one of the defining battles of our time.

Today’s National Day of Action is the largest nationwide IR protest to take place since WorkChoices.  And the issue motivating most the hundreds of thousands to march today is penalty rates.

Belatedly, Abbott government ministers have realised they might be playing with fire, and last week tried to calm fears about their agenda. But nobody is buying it.  

Why? Because the war on penalty rates has already begun. Abbott’s Fair Work Amendment Bill allows penalty rates to be traded away. His friends in business are attacking penalty rates through the Fair Work Commission’s Award review process. And his Productivity Commission inquiry is laying the ground for an even more sweeping attack.

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Join the United Voice Leadership Program

The United Voice Leadership Program provides union delegates, leaders and activists with specialist training in a range of areas, including enforcing your union agreement, union-building and representation. Dates for 2015 are now available, so click below to find out how you can improve your skills and help organise your workplace and community.

Join the United Voice Leadership Program

"I now feel more comfortable and confident about representing members with their issues - and talking to non-members about why they need to join the union. We need to build a bigger, stronger union, so we can make sure we always get treated with fairness and respect."
Alex Petrevski, Delegate and program graduate

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The pineapples are safe (for now)!

Fantastic news: yesterday Tony Abbott officially walked away from proposed changes to the GST.

Only a few weeks after members of his own party openly came out campaigning for the GST to be extended to fresh fruit and veggies, Tony Abbott was forced to walk away from any changes to the tax without bi-partisan consensus. Given Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said he "wouldn’t support widening the GST under any circumstances", it looks like that consensus will be hard to come by.

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Union member and Early Childhood Educator, Kylie Grey, and her family protest the Government's rotten tax ideas

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