To join UNITE call our office on (03) 9328 1555.
In recent weeks UNITE has received numerous complaints from 7-Eleven workers across Victoria about not being paid correctly.
It is clear that the double hours scam, exposed by UNITE in 2008, is still being used by many franchisees. This scam means that many workers are only being paid for half the hours they work.
Other complaints we have received include:
-Workers not being paid the legal minimum wage
-Workers not receiving required breaks during their shifts
-Workers not receiving penalty rates for working weekends, late nights and public holidays
-Wages being illegally docked when cash registers don’t balance
In May this year the Coalition released a 14 point plan supposedly to ‘improve’ the Fair Work laws. These laws, introduced by Labor, are so bad that they even violate International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions. They are some of the most anti- worker laws in the advanced world.
Make no mistake, the Coalition’s plans are not about rectifying any of the problems with the Fair Work laws. They are about shifting the balance even further in favour of employers. If implemented the 14 point plan would mean even more restrictions on unions and the winding back of workers rights.
Bakers Delight is attempting to lock workers into low pay under a new non union agreement. Workers could potentially receive no penalty rates on weekends or public holidays. A 16 year old could end up working just a 1.5 hour shift for as little as $13.35, barely enough to cover the cost of transport to and from work.
In 2010 Bakers Delight workers at the Diamond Creek, St Helena and Laurimar stores in Melbourne’s northern suburbs organised with UNITE to win Award rates of pay and penalty rates. This latest development is an attempt to circumvent these gains and to cut across the ability of workers to organise to win better pay and conditions.
6 months and you’re permanent!
In the past month the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has been conducting an inquiry into casual work. The aim of the inquiry was to collect information from workers, unions, community groups and academics about the conditions of casual, temporary and contracted workers.
It looks at which types of workers fall into the insecure work category, the effects it has on people’s lives, their families and the community as a whole. It also looks at the wide range of entitlements these workers are missing out on.
Around 40% of the entire workforce is employed on an insecure basis. This figure continues to rise by the day. Compared to other advanced countries, the percentage of population employed on an insecure basis is second only to Spain.
Recently there has been a lot of pressure from big business to cut penalty rates. These calls are an attack on the wages of many workers, especially those who work in hospitality, fast food and retail. Penalty rates are higher rates of pay you must be paid for when you work nights, weekends and public holidays. Penalty rates compensate for the anti-social hours that people have to work. If penalty rates are cut, it will affect everyone that works nights, weekends and public holidays. This is a direct attack on the already low pay that workers in these industries get.
UNITE members at the Carlton Club in Melbourne’s CBD have won secure jobs for every single worker in the establishment. After months of anti-union bullying the persistence of the bartenders has paid off.
UNITE members, organisers and activists have been down at the Baiada Poultry picket line, supporting striking factory workers in their fight for safe working conditions, a 5% pay rise and an end to casualisation and off the books work.
Baiada is a disgrace. At this Laverton North factory there are daily injuries, workers can get paid $7-10/hour, international students are deliberately overworked then corralled into dodgy arrangements, women are sexually harassed on a daily basis, and most outrageously a worker named Sorel Singh was decapitated last year when management refused to turn off a machine while it was cleaned.
UNITE members at the Carlton Hotel have been fighting for the minimum wage and penalty rates, in the face of anti-union bullying and blatant lies from management and the boss.
Workers at the Carlton – a hugely popular CBD bar – have been getting paid well below the minimum wage for years. A group of bartenders fed up with the situation joined UNITE and began to push for their entitlements.
UNITE would like to extend its warm support to Occupy Melbourne.
Our members are low-paid workers in retail and hospitality, who feel the destructive force of capitalism on a daily basis. Retail bosses, despite high profits, recently began campaigning for the legal minimum wage to be even further reduced to keep profits soaring.
The government has softened some of the harshest aspects of legislation relating to international students at work. The recent Knight report, which criticised the mandatory cancellation of visas for students who work more than 20 hours in a week, clearly put some pressure on the government to clean up its treatment of foreign students.
The proposed changes, however, are completely insufficient, and still paint international students as little more than cash cows.
The National Retail Association is proposing reducing the retail minimum wage by 10%, scrapping penalty rates for nights and Saturdays, reducing penalty rates on Sundays and cutting the minimum shift to one hour.
UNITE’s Brunswick Street campaign has won some real victories. UNITE organisers and volunteers visited stores along Brunswick Street on Saturday to let members and other workers know about the successes so far, and what they can do to win Award wages, penalty rates and safe conditions.
Workers on the street were impressed with the union work done by employees at San Churro, Hooked, Friends of Couture, Nique and 7-Eleven. Thanks to these workers’ efforts, weekend and evening penalty rates now seem within reach for others along the street. These examples prove that gains at work are won by joining UNITE, standing up to dodgy bosses and demanding your entitlements.
Business leaders have touted this as a victory for both employers and workers. This could not be further from the truth. A casual worker on the lowest retail youth rates gets paid roughly $9.50/hour. A ‘full’ 1.5 hour shift for this young worker would barely bring in $14. To put this in context, a daily concession train ticket costs $5.80. It will cost a student almost half their day’s wage to get to and from work.
Negotiations recently took place between the leadership of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employee’s Association (SDA) and Coles management for a new 3 year national agreement to cover all Coles employees. The proposed agreement, fully endorsed by the SDA leadership, strips back many of the rights and conditions Coles workers had fought for over previous decades, and sets the scene for future attacks on conditions.