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Labor picks fight with farm piece rates in a move critics say could drive producers to the wall. The federal opposition says farm workers need to be guaranteed a minimum wage if they are paid according to how much produce they pick.

Labor picks fight with farm piece rates in a move critics say could drive producers to the wall

Key points: Workers paid according to how much fruit they pick are being exploited, say unions The opposition says workers must be guaranteed a minimum wage The National Farmers' Federation says piece rates drive worker productivity Labor has thrown its support behind a union campaign to amend the horticulture workers award in a move farmers claim could drive them out of business. Speaking in Sydney today, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said fruit pickers must be assured of earning the minimum wage of $19.84 per hour. "What we're saying is there should be a minimum rate," he said. Under the award, the piece rate allows workers to be paid according to the amount of fruit they harvest, and must offer the average worker up to 15 per cent more per hour than the minimum wage. Government abandons bulk of industrial relations package in effort to save definition of casual work. The federal government has been forced to abandon the bulk of a controversial industrial relations bill, failing to negotiate it through the Senate.

Government abandons bulk of industrial relations package in effort to save definition of casual work

Key points: Only one measure in the government's suite of reforms has passed successfullyThe government has been locked in negotiations with the Senate crossbenchSenator Michaelia Cash says the government agreed to make changes to get the most critical part of the bill through The only measure in the wide-ranging bill successfully passed was to legally define casual work, in an effort to avoid leaving businesses liable for potentially billions of dollars in back-pay. Employers will also be compelled to offer casual employees either permanent part-time or full-time work after 12 months of regular shifts — but Labor and the unions argue the provision is unenforceable.

The government was locked in negotiations with the Senate crossbench throughout this week, but came up largely empty-handed. The bill must now return to the House for final passage. Online food delivery deaths prompt calls for better worker's compensation for gig economy workers. Four-year-old Azka is getting used to a new phrase in his vocabulary: "My father has passed away.

Online food delivery deaths prompt calls for better worker's compensation for gig economy workers

" They are an enormous five words for a small boy to carry. Key points: Over recent months there have been five deaths involving food delivery ridersAs independent contractors, delivery riders are not entitled to the same rights as employeesThe deaths have underscored a union campaign for stronger protections for gig economy workers. Protesters call for wage theft crackdown in Adelaide's Chinatown following alleged assault. Dozens of protesters have again gathered in Adelaide's Chinatown district urging better wage protections for vulnerable workers, especially migrants and international students.

Protesters call for wage theft crackdown in Adelaide's Chinatown following alleged assault

Key points: Rally organisers called for an end to systemic underpayment of international studentsThe protest was prompted by a viral video that showed an alleged assaultThe SA Government says agencies including the Fair Work Commission are empowered to tackle the problem The rally came after an alleged assault on a worker at Chinatown business Fun Tea last week, which has sparked discussion about alleged wage theft among the international student community. Footage of the incident, which went viral on social media, shows a verbal dispute between a man and a young woman who makes claims about wage theft.

Would-be fruit picker calls for more flexible hiring practices as growers seek answers to worker shortage. An unemployed man who says he would be willing to "live out of his car" to get a fruit-picking job is calling for the industry to be more open-minded as it seeks to solve its 26,000-worker shortage.

Would-be fruit picker calls for more flexible hiring practices as growers seek answers to worker shortage

Key points: Scott Watson has been rejected from fruit-picking jobs in multiple states, despite the industry facing a shortfall of 26,000 workersMost farms source their workers through job placement agencies rather than direct approaches from applicants A Southern Downs grower finds offering incentives, plus a more flexible approach to hiring help, helps buck the national trend of labour shortages Scott Watson, 53, said he had contacted about a dozen companies in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, several of which he had seen quoted in media reports about labour shortages, to ask for work in the past year. All rejected the former business owner and financial planner, who lost his job at the start of 2020 and is not eligible for government benefits. Superannuation cannot rise without stalling wage growth, RBA documents reveal.

Australia's superannuation rate is legislated to rise but it could cost workers an increase in wages.

Superannuation cannot rise without stalling wage growth, RBA documents reveal

Key points: Superannuation is legislated to increase to 10 per cent on July 1FOI documents from inside the Reserve Bank of Australia show it believes a rise in superannuation will cost wagesThe view is based on the work of one think tank, the Grattan Institute Confidential documents show the central bank's position on this contentious economic question is clear; the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) believes up to $8 of every $10 of future wage rises could be wiped out as the superannuation rate lifts half a per cent each year before reaching 12 per cent by 2025.

"Wages growth forecasts have been revised lower from mid-2021… due to planned increase in super guarantee," a report from December 2019 states. RBA position based on one think tank. Working more doesn't always mean more output, according to these researchers. In many ways, working too much was not a bad problem to have in 2020, when you consider the 1 million Australians who were out of work.

Working more doesn't always mean more output, according to these researchers

Key points: A study by global accountancy software company QuickBooks found a correlation between a shorter work week and higher productivityThe authors found Australians work 34.6 hours a week on average, assuming four weeks holidayNew Zealand company Unilever is moving to a four-day work week but paying staff for five to improve company performance But is putting in extra hours at the (home) office really worth it from an output and economic point of view? In short, not really, according to a worldwide study commissioned by global accountancy software company QuickBooks. The study shows our neighbours on the other side of the Indian Ocean have the longest working week — people in South Africa work an average 2,209 hours a year. Shearer shortage due to COVID restrictions sparks 'unofficial auction' for workers. A worker shortage crisis has kicked off a bidding war between farmers and contractors for shearing crews.

Shearer shortage due to COVID restrictions sparks 'unofficial auction' for workers

Key points: Farmers face lengthy, and potentially costly, delays in getting their sheep shornCOVID-19 border restrictions and drought-breaking rains combine to create a skills "crisis" in the sheep industryShearing delays can cause animal welfare issues for sheep Shearing Contractors Association of Australia secretary Jason Letchford said some producers were paying shearers premiums of between 20 and 50 per cent per sheep in an "unofficial auction system".

"The [minimum] pay rate is about $3.24 to shear a standard or flock sheep in Australia," he said. When backpackers went home, these Australians gave farm jobs a go. Here's how they went. As soon as it became clear COVID-19 was going to wreak havoc, most backpackers hastily left Australia and made their way back home.

When backpackers went home, these Australians gave farm jobs a go. Here's how they went

Fearing the nation's fresh produce would be left to rot, the Federal Government and agriculture bodies lobbied young Australians to take up farming jobs instead. Some farmers flaunted attractive wage figures, saying it was possible to make $3,000 per week, while Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack told teens regional work might make for interesting Instagram content, and even lead to finding "the love of your life".

These Australians gave it a go. Unions take Qantas to High Court over alleged misuse of JobKeeper scheme, underpayment of staff. Unions are taking their fight against Qantas and its use of the JobKeeper wage subsidy program to the High Court.

Unions take Qantas to High Court over alleged misuse of JobKeeper scheme, underpayment of staff

Key points: Unions have accused Qantas of ripping off airline workers during the COVID-19 shutdownsThey will apply for special leave to appeal to the High CourtTheir case was dismissed by the Federal Court in December They say workers have been ripped off by the airline after working public holidays, weekends and overtime during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

JobKeeper subsidy drops today before it disappears entirely in March, and some workers are worried. Hundreds of thousands of Australians face a pay cut of up to $100 per week from today as employee wage subsidy JobKeeper is wound back. Key points: The employer subsidy payment JobKeeper drops by as much as $100 per week from January 4, meaning many workers will face a reduction in payThe Government is sticking to its plan to scrap the subsidy altogether at the end of March despite the COVID outbreak in New South WalesThe total cost of JobKeeper is estimated to be $90 billion The payment was established at the start of the pandemic to encourage affected business to keep staff employed, but it enters its final phase today ahead of its scheduled conclusion at the end of March.

From January 4, eligible businesses receive $500 per week for each staff member working at least 20 hours per week, down from $600. Other employees attract a payment of $325 per week, down from $375. The payments must be passed by employers onto staff. Former Huawei employee speaks out on Shenzhen's '996' culture as Chinese city enforces paid leave. For five years, former Huawei employee Zeng Meng embraced China's infamous "996" culture of working from 9:00am to 9:00pm, six days a week. Key points: Shenzhen becomes the first Chinese city to mandate that workers in "special industries" take paid leaveThose industries will now also be required to pay overtime or give extra annual leave daysBut experts fear the new policy may not change the overwork culture in the tech hub Mr Zeng, a power engineer, was employed by the Chinese telecoms giant as a product manager in Shenzhen in 2012, after working for several other major technology companies in the south-eastern city widely regarded as China's Silicon Valley.

The job quickly "took over" his personal life — he had no time for his family, leisure or even sleep. He said he lost interest in everything except work. NSW Health employee was suspended from his job on the Mid-North Coast for talking to his union. In one day, Stephen Crerar's 33-year career was destroyed and he's still shocked by the reason his employer NSW Health gave him. Key points: NSW Health admitted it was to wrong to have suspended Stephen CrerarMr Crerar was put on a staff blacklist — making him unemployableThe Health Services Union says what happened to Mr Crerar "beggars belief" Mr Crerar, a former human resources manager in the Mid-North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD), was told to hand his pass in and leave the building immediately on February 4, 2019.

Six months later he found out why he was suspended — for communicating with his union. "I was beside myself in disbelief," he said. "What kind of fool would suspend a HR manager for consulting with their union, it's just laughable, it's not a sane reason to give. " Mr Crerar contacted the Health Services Union in 2018 to suggest that the MNCLHD could be in breach of the health employees industrial award as there was a lack of consultation during a staff restructure. Farmers look to retain piece rate work despite union push for minimum award wages. Farmers are pushing back against union moves to see minimum wage rates granted to fruit pickers and seasonal workers.

Key points: Citrus peak body concerned award changes could affect farm productivityFruit producers say some workers request piece pay rateSome call federal labour hire licenses instead of changes to the horticulture award. AWU takes fight over fruit pickers' pay to Fair Work Commission - ABC News. Evidence of widespread wages theft in the fruit-picking sector could force the workplace umpire to close an industrial loophole that allows farms to pay foreign workers as little as $3 an hour, or $60 a day. Key points: The Australian Workers Union wants farm workers to receive at least $24.80 an hourThe union says fruit and vegetable farms are "the epicentre for exploitation"However, the National Farmers Federation defends the "piece rate" payment structure.

Job ads targeting migrants overwhelmingly offering below the minimum wage - ABC News. Almost nine in 10 job ads written in foreign languages and targeting migrant workers are offering below the award rate, according to unions and researchers, which say it represents an alarming spike in attempted illegal exploitation during the pandemic. Canberra massage parlour owner accused of threatening to kill employees' families denies wrongdoing - ABC News. The former owner of a Canberra massage business has denied doing anything wrong after being accused of threatening to have the families of his employees killed if they spoke up about alleged unfair working conditions.

Key points: Who would have thought John Setka could be such a unifying force - ABC News. You didn't need Nostradamus to predict the Labor and union blasts when the Government released its industrial relations reforms this week. But who — except the few in the know — would have foreseen the Government-union-Labor unity ticket to land a massive "hit" on very bad boy John Setka? The legislative rush to pass the bill allowing parts of unions — by which we mean divisions of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union — to leave the mother ship was remarkable.

TWU lodges Federal Court case against Qantas over company's decision to outsource 2,000 jobs - ABC News. The main union representing aviation workers will launch a Federal Court case today over moves by Qantas to outsource more than 2,000 jobs. Fair Work Commission could allow agreements which make some workers worse off - ABC News. The Fair Work Commission (FWC) would be allowed to disregard the "better off overall test" when considering enterprise agreements for businesses hit by COVID-19 under planned changes.

Part-time workers to be offered more hours but without overtime under proposed industrial relations shake-up - ABC News. Changes to casual work including options for permanency and leave loading proposed in new industrial relations reforms - ABC News. As parliament sits for its final week this year, the Federal Government will introduce its much-anticipated overhaul of industrial relations laws prompted by the upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic. Key points: The overhaul includes proposed changes to enterprise bargaining and simplifying awardsUnions and the Government have been negotiating behind closed doors over the bill for monthsThe legislation will not be voted on until 2021. Farm labour incentives failing and the result could be crops left unharvested - ABC News. Calls for royal commission as report details allegations blueberry farmers pay workers $3 an hour - ABC News.

An investigation into the blueberry industry on the New South Wales north coast is alleging systemic wages theft and intentional worker underpayment by unscrupulous labour hire firms. Virgin Australia workers asked to accept pay freeze, but promised their jobs won't be outsourced - ABC News. About 6,000 workers at Virgin Australia will be asked to vote on a new workplace enterprise agreement that would see their pay frozen for 18 months to two years as the airline struggles to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Key points: Unions lobby governments, Industrial Relations Minister to halve insecure work by 2030 - ABC News. Job recruitment algorithms can amplify unconscious bias favouring men, new research finds - ABC News. Australian berry and citrus farms most at risk of having slave-like working conditions, Woolworths modern slavery report finds - ABC News.

Ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Oxfam releases report on Australian fashion brands - ABC News. 'Hidden' garment workers in Australia are vulnerable to exploitation while sewing from home - ABC News. Outsourcing Qantas jobs is 'un-Australian', say workers, as they make last-ditch bid to save more than 2,000 positions - ABC News. Victoria announces trial program offering sick and carers leave to casual or insecure workers - ABC News. Coles shuts major Sydney warehouse as hundreds of Smeaton Grange workers strike over redundancy conditions - ABC News. Crown whistleblower demands apology from casino giant over 'gold-digger' attack ads - ABC News. How 'Saint Monday' hangovers and the football helped bring us the weekend - ABC News.

Drakes Supermarkets facing underpayment claims in class action lodged in Federal Court - ABC News. Gig economy under the microscope as former Deliveroo driver takes company to Fair Work Commission for unfair dismissal - ABC News. Seafarers forced to spend up to 18 months on ships, International Transport Workers' Federation says - ABC News. Cambodian garment factory workers demand rights after coronavirus closures - ABC News. Universities accused of 'sham contracting' as wage scandal in Australia's higher education sector deepens - ABC News. Being monitored by your boss while working from home — necessary trade-off or 'stupid' surveillance? - ABC News.

Coronavirus pandemic a cover to try and weaken workers' pay and conditions, unions say - ABC News. Commercial laundry discovers it has 25 migrant workers with 31 untapped degrees - ABC News. Qantas workers face the axe as COVID-19 grounding of flights opens outsourcing loophole - ABC News. Job ready university degrees may not be the tertiary education solution we are hoping for - ABC News. 'There are no human rights here': Inside the Government's 'exploitative' backpacker visa scheme. Hofmann Engineering looks to wrest work from China as it fights to save jobs amid coronavirus pandemic - ABC News.

Backpackers warn of horticulture industry 'underbelly' of dodgy labour hire providers and illegal wages - ABC News. Can your boss cut your pay or conditions without asking you? How does coronavirus affect workplace rights? - ABC News. Some jobs lost forever as coronavirus pandemic accelerates structural change - ABC News. Coronavirus recession, not robots, set to take jobs from future workforce - ABC News. Melbourne company withdraws its Fair Work case against staff over coronavirus outbreak - ABC News. 'Eye-watering' coronavirus debt is 'manageable' but unemployment levels remain troubling - ABC News. Coronavirus quarantine guards in Melbourne hotels were recruited via WhatsApp, then 'told to bring their own masks' - ABC News. Keeping the focus on Australian manufacturing after coronavirus - ABC News.

An arts degree has long been the butt of predictable joke but there's another side - ABC News. Generation Z employees pose dilemma for some employers, and technology is key for retaining younger staff. Crown Casino shows corporate Australia still doesn't get it on excessive pay. I haven't even started teaching yet, but it's already cost me $700 — and I'm not alone. Farmers and workers both claim to lose out in changes to horticultural labour rules - ABC Rural - ABC News.

Aussie firm's 'no-work Wednesday' concept goes global. A working-class family finds fresh hell in the gig economy in Sorry We Missed You. Federal Government urged to axe 'better off overall' test to streamline EBA process. George Calombaris's MAdE Establishment underpaid workers $7.8 million. Cheap migrant worker cut-off slips as regional push brings further discounts for employers - Politics. All work and no play the US way. Living like a super-productive chief executive is harmful to your health.

SA public school teachers vote to go on strike for better pay and conditions. Hairdressers unionise and unite for fight against proposed cut to penalty rates. Struggling retailers say penalty rate cut offers them a lifeline. Federal election 2019: Vote Compass finds support for Sunday penalty rates and higher minimum wage - Australia Votes - Federal Election 2019 - Politics. Pine Gap spy base contractor Raytheon locked in redundancy payout dispute. Why are Australian workers getting the smallest pay rises since WWII? Small workplaces and corporate profit are driving wage stagnation. High Court to determine whether your employer can dictate what you can say. Part-time work is a full-time problem for younger workers. Farmers in Northern Territory left out of latest skilled migrant worker scheme despite high hopes.

Are you in your 20s and struggling to find full-time work? You're not alone. Uber accused of 'wage theft' by drivers. Deliveroo's new contracts shift liability to workers, riders allege. Unlimited paid annual leave seems tempting, but is it a gimmick or good business? Deliveroo threatens to terminate workers after losing their contracts. Major blitz of Sydney's 'cheap eats' precinct found 176 employees were underpaid. Foodora dishes out punishment to injured riders in 'oppressive' policy, ABC investigation reveals. Ichi Group threatened, fired restaurant workers who requested award rates, ex-employees claim. 'Bonded like a slave': Workplace watchdog investigation into labour exploitation reveals poor conditions - ABC Rural - ABC News. Online food delivery company Foodora facing legal action over alleged underpayment of staff. Hospitality workers forced to chase millions in unpaid superannuation. Trucking company fined over 'preventable' deaths of Irish construction workers.

Young and underpaid: Your definitive guide to getting the money your boss owes you. Agri Labour Australia suspended from government scheme amid underpayment, unsafe work claims. Blackmail — the business plan for cheaper wages. Unpaid internships: How working for free went mainstream. Unemployed, underemployed or underpaid: The reality for young workers. Employees stuck in 'outdated', 'zombie' contracts of WorkChoices era. Childcare workers' strike won't win them a pay rise. Here's why. Enterprise bargaining collapse a likely cause of wages weakness: think tank. Bias in reference checks means it's time we looked for an alternative.

Sorry STEM, even Google just made the case for more foreign language education. Amazon's arrival: What will it mean for workers' rights and industrial relations?