Radio Stingray is a monthly podcast brought to you by the Maritime Union of Australia Sydney Branch. It continues the legacy of generations of maritime workers communicating with each other using the latest platforms.
The podcast is designed to be entertaining and informative with industrial rounds, reports by Officials and rank and filers, campaign updates, upcoming events, and special features. Bringing news and information from a working class perspective on matters important to workers in Sydney, Australia and the rest of the world
On this episode of Radio Stingray, we’re discussing wage theft, focusing on the nature of it and the various ways in which it influences a number of industries within the Australian workforce.<br><br> <br><br>On today's show we are joined by Tim Nelthorpe, from the National Union of Workers, Victoria (NUW), and Activist with Hospo Voice, James Anthony Conciglio. While Tim is focused on the fair treatment of horticulture workers and James is a Chef and activist in the hospitality industry, both individuals share a common purpose in providing their industries’ workers with the resources and education to recognise the exploitation of their services.<br><br>Key Themes and Discussion Points <br><br> What is Wage Theft?<br>Wage theft is the denial of wages or benefits rightfully owed to the employee by the employer. Wage theft can be presented in many ways, including but not limited to; failure to pay over time and violating the minimum wage award of that industry.<br><br>What is Hospo Voice?<br>Representative for Hospo Voice James Anthony Conciglio believes that they provide one of the largest working industries in Australia a collaborative platform in which hospitality workers can use to voice concerns regarding their treatment within the work place.<br>James simply defines wage theft as a dodgy boss who isn’t paying the correct award to their worker/s.<br><br>What is the Award?<br>Awards are designated legal minimums allowed to each industry as per the guidelines put forth by the Fair Work Commission.<br>Unique to all industries within Australia, these awards are established by the government in order to regulate and monitor the specific pay rates, penalties and allowances.<br><br>Tim Nelthorpe and the NUW<br>Tim represents the horticulture industry, which encompasses 100,000 + workers picking and packing the fresh produce that’s bought, sold and distributed in major supermarkets, such as Coles and Woolworths.<br>Represented as having some of the highest minimum wages in the world, which has been primarily achieved through enterprise bargaining, Unions have lost sight of the internal struggles relating to wage theft.<br>For example, the horticulture award enables a peace rate clause that employers use to shave wages in a shifty yet legal manner.<br>Roughly 70% of the horticulture industry in Australia is paid in cash, therefor unrequired to abide by the regulated awards of fair trade within that industry.<br><br>The Informal Economy<br>The informal economy refers to a large sector of the Australian economy that is paid in cash and thus lack representation from government and privatised unions established to enable fair awards and better practices.<br>Representative for Hospo Voice, James Consiglio, believes that this informal economy is extremely prevalent within both the hospitality and horticulture industries. He also believes it’s most common for casual workers and migrants who require immediate financial support.<br><br>George Calombaris<br>Former Master Chef judge, George Calombaris was responsible for one of the largest displays of wage theft in the history of the Australian hospitality industry.<br>The owner of various MAde Establishment companies, George underpaid more than 500 current and former employees over nearly two decades and was forced to back pay over $7.8 million in wages and superannuation this year.<br>This episode of events that are central to the operation of numerous restaurants and venues across Victoria has only motivated James and Hospo Voice to increase awareness and continue to educate employees in fair work practices.<br><br>The Operation of a Modern Union<br>James of Hospo Voice believes that both the state government and the relevant industry workplace have a responsibility in empowering and supporting the modern union and its members.<br>Ombudsmen are often utilised by unions in order to resolve issues regarding the miscommunication between fair trade and union members. These ombudsmen are, however typically referred to as “work place umpires”, often not on the side of the workers.<br>Tim Nelthorpe of the NUW believes that the modern union has the responsibility to give their workers an understanding of their right to not only join a union but to stand up when being mistreated.<br><br>Fortifying the ‘New Union Model’<br>Representative for the NUW, Tim Nelthorpe believes that workers he represents within the horticulture industry have success moving around the industry, maintaining union contacts and records. This is important as many work places require a nomadic operation and this fluidity suits the modern workplace effectively in regards to maintained support.<br>Tim Nelthorpe states that the wages of an individual aren’t the core concern raised within the horticulture industry, rather it’s focused more on job security and the voice in which the individual is given in regards to internal and external business decisions.<br><br>What is Hospo Voice Doing?<br>A member run organization, Hospo Voice works in numbers and solidarity, and aims to achieve better long term quality of industry standards in regards to wage awards and their regulation<br>Hospo Voice also hopes to make wage theft a punishable crime. Currently in the organisational stages, Hospo Voice is in contact with the Victoria State Government in hopes to enact the law by 2020.<br><br> <br><br> <br><br>Important Quotes |<br><br> <br><br>“Where there’s a union that’s well organised and prepared to fight, we see good wage and condition outcomes for workers. Where there is no union, or no fight, we see employers seizing on every available opportunity to steal as much as they possibly can out of their workforce” – Shane Reside<br><br> <br><br>“The MUA Sydney branch has been fighting the full spectrum of businesses, from dodgy back yard operators to hundred million dollar players like NRMA” – Shane Reside<br><br> <br><br>“When we talk about wage theft, we’re talking about dodgy bosses who aren’t paying current award” – James Anthony Conciglio<br><br> <br><br>“We estimate that something around 70% of the industry are being paid in cash, and the vast majority of those are earning well less than the minimum wage” – Tim Nelthorpe<br><br> <br><br>“Realistically, the sheer scale of the problem (wage theft) in our industry, means that unless unions are recognised and given a role in the 90% of sectors in which we don’t have government mandated inductions with workers, then things won't improve” – Tim Nelthorpe<br><br> <br><br>“Workers having a voice, and workers being educated on their rights to join a union is a big part of it (combating wage theft)” – Tim Nelthorpe<br><br> <br><br> “10% of the Australian workforce are temporary migrant workers” – Shane Reside<br><br> <br><br>Important Resources <br><br> <br><br>To learn more about the National Union of Workers and the type of difference individuals such as Tim are making, visit https://www.nuw.org.au/.<br><br> <br><br>If you would like to learn more about the Hospo Voice and their unionisation of the hospitality industry, visit https://www.hospovoice.org.au/.<br><br> <br><br>If you’re unsure, or just curious as to what your industry award is, please visit https://www.fairwork.gov.au/awards-and-agreements/awards.<br><br> <br><br>If you’re interested in reading further into the recent situation involving George Calombaris’ wage theft, please do so through this ABC News article https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-18/george-calombaris-made-establishment-backpays-underpaid-workers/11320274.<br><br> <br><br>Proud Sponsors of Radio Stingray <br><br> <br><br>Unity Bank<br><br> <br><br>https://www.unitybank.com.au/<br><br> <br><br>McNally Jones Staff Lawyers<br><br> <br><br>https://www.mcnally.com.au/
The Australian unions have been going hammer and tongs to try and get Scomo sacked, and the MUA is no exception. Get under the bonnet of the MUA's election strategy with Sydney Branch Assistant Secretary Paul Garret, and National Women’s Officer (and ALP National Junior Vice President) Michelle Myers. Why is the election important to the MUA? What is at stake? Will a Shorten government really make life any better for ordinary people
This year thousands of construction, maritime and manufacturing workers in Sydney are walking off the job on International Workers Day – Mayday - to join a massive demonstration of working class power and politics.<br><br>This is the first time in decades since unions have broken-free of concerns about ‘illegal industrial action’ and are literally downing tools, shutting down factories and closing the ports at a time and place of our choosing – International Workers Day.<br><br>Joining us to discuss a major development in union militancy and politics in NSW is the MUAs very own branch Secretary Paul McAleer, our close friend and comrade Steve Murphy, the NSW State Secretary of the mighty AMWU and last but certainly not least, NSW Assistant Secretary of the NSW construction union Rob Kera. But as we know, the economy ain't’ what it once was. Work ain't’ what it once was. The vast majority of us aren’t in unions. The service industry has exploded in size and significance, casual work is the ever-rising tide. And what about care-labour? Isn’t that work too? <br><br>Thousands of workers who aren’t even in unions (as we know them) are expected to mobilise for this year's massive demo. What does International Workers Day even mean to this huge, growing section of working class people in Australia?<br><br> <br><br>Buckle in for this one, and make sure you and your mates are ready for May 1.”
Did you know that immediately before being used to attack the MUA in the 98 Patricks dispute, the same management consultants were used to smash the Liverpool dockers? Sadly in Liverpool, the bastards had more luck.<br><br>All the way from the UK Radio Stingray has Liverpool dockers Tony Nelson and John Lynch to tell us about what happened next.<br><br>From reorganising the waterfront to building one of the worlds leading social centres, the Liverpool dockers have not taken a single backward step.
MUA seafarers have been getting systematically sacked around the Australian coast due to the actions of successive conservative national governments.<br><br>A series of government decisions has created the possibility for shipping lines to fire their MUA workforce, and employ en masse non-union workers to run ships up the Australian coast.<br><br>This isn’t unique to Australia. Across the rich, developed world, governments have been collaborating with shipping industry bosses to smash seafarers unions.<br><br>The MUA is fighting tooth and nail to roll back these attacks, and we’re not alone. Seafarers unions across the world have been fighting this too.<br><br>With us in Part 2 of our series to give us a rundown on what’s happening is legendary Canadian seafarer Jim Given. Jim is the President of the Seafarers International Union of Canada and the Chair, ITF Cabotage Taskforce<br><br>Also with on this show is wharfie and working class warrior Warren Smith, Assistant National Secretary of the mighty MUA.
The shipping industry and conservative governments have been systematically manipulating laws so that bosses can fire their MUA seafarers, and directly employ non-union seafarers from south-east Asia. These seafarers are forced by the extreme poverty characterising the region to take these jobs, working the Australian coast. As a result, hundreds of MUA seafarers have been forced out of work by successive governments working with shipping industry bosses to slash wages by up to 98%. <br><br>MUA Seafarers, wharfies and other maritime workers have been fighting like hell to prevent the shipping industry bosses smashing the union out of the industry.<br><br>In this two-part Radio Stingray special we discuss the different tactics that the MUA has taken up in the fight for the future of union seafarers on the Australian Coast.<br><br>In Part 1. we hear from Penny Howard, the MUA National Policy Officer, and WA Assistant Branch Secretary Danny Cain about the massive wind power stations proposed for the Australian southern coast. If they go ahead, these power stations will guarantee hundreds of jobs for maritime workers for decades. Even more importantly, this is a concrete, immediate way that union workers can stand in solidarity with the working class of the Pacific already suffering from devastating climate change, be a part of fighting the climate emergency, and building a future beyond coal.
In this episode of Radio Stingray we hear about MUA Sydney Branch Secretary Paul McAleer getting dragged off by the riot cops at Port Botany. <br><br>Also: a notoriously conservative industry think tank has released a report stating that contrary to popular belief, automation is costing port operators money! So why the hell do they keep doing it?
In this episode of Radio Stingray, Sydney Branch Organisor Shane Reside and MUA Veterans Rep Bob Lee visit the picket line in Longford Victoria where workers have been locked out for in excess of 530 days.<br><br>We talk to AWU members Wayne Smit and Peter Vickers to discuss the underhanded tactics used by Exxon Mobil & UGL/CIMIC who launched the scathing attack on its workers who are hell bent on union busting & <br>decimating working wages & conditions in an attempt to make higher profits for their shareholders.
The Sydney Branch of the MUA has put waterfront safety organising front and centre. New structures at the port, a safety offensive and a regional pact with wharfies in Pakistan and Jakarta are just a taste of the fight to come.<br><br> In this episode of Radio Stingray we're joined by special guests Rio and Surya from the Hutchison Terminal in Jakarta, and Umer from the Hutchison Terminal in Pakistan. Get into it!
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