Work and fairness - young workers; ambulance officers

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Work and fairness - young workers; ambulance officers

The Workplace Ombudsman is prosecuting national sports retail giant A-Mart All Sports Pty Ltd over allegations it required young casual retail staff to do unpaid work before the start of their paid shift. Meanwhile in a reversal of their normal approach to such matters, a trade union in South Australia is calling for the privatisation of a Government service.

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The Workplace Ombudsman is prosecuting national sports retail giant A-Mart All Sports Pty Ltd over allegations it required young casual retail staff to do unpaid work before the start of their paid shift. Meanwhile in a reversal of their normal approach to such matters, a trade union in South Australia is calling for the privatisation of a Government service.

Ombudsman prosecutes sports stores over unpaid work

The Workplace Ombudsman is prosecuting national sports retail giant A-Mart All Sports Pty Ltd over allegations it required young casual retail staff to do unpaid work before the start of their paid shift.

Ombudsman, Nicholas Wilson, said the prosecution relates to breaches of workplace law that allegedly occurred at the company’s Hobart and Glenorchy stores in Tasmania.

Sally Dennington, the Workplace Ombudsman’s Tasmanian State Director, said A-Mart is alleged to have required 28 of its young workers, most of whom were under 20 at the time, to start work 30 minutes prior to their rostered start time.

Extra time not showed on roster

They were not permitted to show the extra time on their timesheets, resulting in their not being paid for this extra work.

Dennington further alleged that workers were required to complete further unpaid duties after the completion of their paid shift, such as cleaning.

Wilson said A-Mart has now compensated the affected workers for the hours they were required to work without pay following the company’s receipt of a Breach Notice from the Workplace Ombudsman.

Crackdown on trolley collectors

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman is continuing its crackdown on the exploitation of trolley collector workers, announcing an investigation into the South Australian trolley collection business Coastal Trolley’s Pty Ltd’s treatment of its workers in Perth. 

Wilson’s announcement followed the death of a trolley collector worker at the Lakeside Joondalup Shopping Centre in Perth last week.

‘We have received information following this young man’s tragic death alleging that Coastal Trolleys Pty Ltd was his employer and these vulnerable workers are underpaid at the Joondalup site,’ Wilson said. 

The Workplace Ombudsman’s Executive Director, Field Operations, Bill Loizides, said Workplace Inspectors from the Workplace Ombudsman’s Perth Office would conduct the investigation into Coastal Trolleys Pty Ltd with their South Australian colleagues. 

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Union wants ambulance call centre privatised

In a reversal of their normal approach to such matters, a trade union in South Australia is calling for the privatisation of a government service.

The union covering ambulance officers in South Australia say the officers are too busy to deal with Call Direct, a 24-hour emergency monitoring program for the elderly.

Ambulance Employees Association Secretary, Phil Palmer, said about a third of the Call Direct responses are unnecessary and take ambulance officers away from life-threatening situations.

He said it would be more appropriate for private companies to handle the service.

Service under chronic stress

Palmer said the ambulance service is under chronic stress from staff shortages and an increasing workload.

‘When the crews are flat strap, [there is] nothing worse than an unnecessary job,’ he said. ‘The ambulance service is regularly doing over 1,000 tasks a day in the metropolitan area.

‘[Not] so long ago they thought a really busy day was 400 cases in one day.’

SA Ambulance Service Chief Executive, Chris Lemmer, said managers will prepare a report on a range of options for the Call Direct service.

Considered in December

He said transferring the business to private operators will be considered in December, but the ambulance service does not want to jeopardise the safety of customers.

‘We have got to be sure that our current customers are going to be looked after,’ he said. ‘It is not simply going to be a decision made in December and then it is switched off. We will be dealing with our customers to make sure that they continue [to have] the service that they have now.’

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