News briefs, 20/09/11


News briefs, 20/09/11

CFMEU takes Boral to court over asbestos | Greens job rate steady despite solar slump | FW Ombudsman gets worker back pay


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CFMEU takes Boral to court over asbestos | Greens job rate steady despite solar slump | FW Ombudsman gets worker back-pay.

CFMEU takes Boral to court over asbestos

The CFMEU will take building materials giant Boral to court this week over claims it was illegally barred from entering the company’s ACT site to check for asbestos.

The site has since been shut down by WorkSafe ACT, after independent tests found asbestos on the factory floor.

The union claims its officials were locked out of Boral’s plasterboard distribution centre in Fyshwick twice in recent months, after its officials tried to investigate worker complaints about the presence of asbestos.

CFMEU ACT branch secretary Dean Hall said when his officers approached the company, Boral had argued that the union had no members on the site and had no right to be there.

Hall said the union had several paying members based at the site but was reluctant to provide names to the company because it feared retribution against the workers.

He said CFMEU had offered to settle the dispute through a financial agreement last Friday but Boral rejected the offer, giving the union no choice but to take the matter to the Federal Magistrates Court.

‘They are not treating the issue of asbestos seriously enough and we cannot afford for them to be standing over us in an area of important workforce safety,’ he said.
Green jobs steady despite dim solar outlook
The number of ‘green’ jobs in the Australian workforce has remained steady despite serious disruption to the solar panel industry.

Peter Hooper, GreenCollar Talent’s managing director, said the end of federal subsidies and cuts in New South Wales and Victoria to the feed-in tariffs have left the industry struggling.

He said the latest casualty is Solar Shop, who after 12 years in the industry and a staff of around 200 went into receivership on 9 September.

‘In other sectors however, green job creation is thriving,’ Hooper said.

He said a good part of the new green jobs, especially in Western Australia, are in environmental management in the mining sector.

‘In the mining sector we are seeing a demand for jobs in energy efficiency and around waste and water projects,’ Hooper said.

‘In the corporate sector, there are a number of sustainability related positions being created by companies and organisations keen to bolster their CSR credentials, as well as take advantage of the costs savings that a good sustainability plan can produce.’

Hooper said that following a light contraction over the last few months, the GreenCollar Talent green jobs index was stable in September, at 1.5% of all jobs.
Underpaid workers get reimbursed

Two Darwin workers have been back paid a total of $13,000, following intervention by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The largest recovery was $6700 for a Palmerston personal care assistant.

Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson said the female employee was being underpaid penalty rates for weekend and overnight work.

In a separate case, a Winnellie operations manager was back paid $6300, after inspectors found he was not provided wages in lieu of notice.

‘After Fair Work inspectors contacted the businesses and explained their obligations, both employees were reimbursed all money owed,’ Wilson said.

Meanwhile, a number of workers on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast have been back paid a total of $25,300.

The largest recovery was $13,000 for a Buderim carer who was not paid allowances, penalty rates or for some time worked.

A Warana sales representative was reimbursed $6300, after not being paid annual leave entitlements or wages in lieu of notice.

And a Yandina clerk was back paid $6000 in under-paid long service leave entitlements.

The employees were promptly paid all money owed.
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