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Issue #1759      November 30, 2016


Oaks Hotels and Resorts is an apartment accommodation provider with properties mostly in Australia and New Zealand, and a smaller number in the United Arab Emirates and Thailand. It has been revealed that more than 1,500 migrant visa-holders working as cleaners at the Oaks Hotels and Resorts chain were ripped off by almost $2 million a year. It is not the only business that does not comply with workplace laws and regulations. 7-Eleven, Caltex and many others have been caught ripping off their workers – it’s becoming a norm, not an exception. These businesses, both small and large, have learned that, because of their situation, overseas workers are especially vulnerable to exploitation.

On Monday, November 14, communities around the country took action in support of Family Violence Leave. Those actions coincided with the hearing of the ACTU application to vary modern awards to provide domestic violence leave as an award standard. Domestic violence leave gives survivors time to visit police, lawyers, doctors and go to court. It also gives them time to move home, change kids’ schools and escape the cycle of violence. Community and Public Sector Union members campaigned for more than two years to include family violence leave into new workplace agreements, but the Turnbull government‘s failed public sector bargaining policy defines domestic violence leave as an “enhancement” – so agencies are blocked from offering it. The CPSU is not the only union fighting for domestic violence leave – other unions are also fighting to make sure domestic violence leave becomes a right for all those who need it.

For-profit health provider Bupa is the third largest aged care provider in NSW. It has 29 aged care facilities and over 2,700 residential places throughout NSW. It also has a very stressed and underpaid nursing staff. The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has slammed Bupa Care Services for failing to negotiate in good faith market competitive pay and conditions for its aged care nurses. General secretary of the NSWNMA, Brett Holmes, said: “We are seeking a commitment on minimum staffing levels and remuneration that brings Bupa wages in line with those paid across aged care. Our members are stressed and burning out because Bupa wants to cap the amount it spends on wages and conditions, while it continues to reap millions of dollars in annual profits.” Bupa Care Services is the only aged care provider in NSW without a process to address understaffing, workload problems or staff absences in its Enterprise Agreement. “Nursing wages are significantly behind other aged care providers and their public counterparts. Registered Nurses (RNs) and Assistants in Nursing (AiN) are paid less, and unlike many other aged care facilities, AiN have the added responsibility of administering medications without receiving any additional pay for their duties”, Holmes said. “As a profitable industry leader, it’s unacceptable that Bupa’s aged care wages and conditions are sub-standard”, he added.

Next article – Culture & Life – Fascism in the White House?

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