News briefs, 26/03/12


News briefs, 26/03/12

Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve to be public holidays in SA | Minister accuses NSW teachers union of being dishonest in campaign against autonomy | Holden deal good the industry over next decade.


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Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve to be public holidays in SA | Minister accuses NSW teachers union of being dishonest in campaign against autonomy | Holden deal good the industry over next decade.

Xmas and NY’s Eve now holidays in SA
Unions in South Australia have succeeded in having Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve declared public holidays after 7 pm.

United Voice, along with other unions, supports the agreement reached with independent MP John Darley and the State Government on legislation that would relax retail hours in the city and create half-day public holidays on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

‘I thank John Darley for meeting with me to get the real story about how this will affect the hotels and aged care sectors,’ United Voice secretary David Di Troia said.

‘Making Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve public holidays from 7 pm will make a real difference to the working lives of our members.’

The announcement from the Premier’s office showed the public holiday legislation has the support of the government, the Greens, and independents Kelly Vincent and Darley. This will allow the changes to pass through the Upper House.

‘Public support has been a big part of the success of the public holiday campaign,’ said Troia.

‘A survey conducted by Newspoll showed 80.6% of Australians supported higher rates of pay for people working on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.’

‘Once this legislation is passed, the workers we represent will have a choice to work on these nights, and those who choose to do so will be compensated for working while others are out celebrating.’

NSW Teachers’ union ‘dishonest’

NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has accused the NSW Teachers Federation of dishonesty in its campaign against plans to give principals more power in government schools.

Piccoli said it was not true the government planned to cut teachers’ pay, reduce school budgets and sack teachers.

He said that the Teachers Federation had been fully briefed on the proposals and that their claims about Local Schools, Local Decisions policy are ‘simply untrue’.

‘We are not reducing school budgets and we are not reducing the education budget,’ Piccoli said.

‘But we are going to reduce bureaucratic red tape and the administrative burdens on our principals and teachers. We want principals to remain the educational leaders in our schools.’

‘We are not sacking teachers or reducing the number of teachers in our schools. Last week I announced the first 200 of an additional 900 teachers to support literacy and numeracy in NSW schools.’

‘As well, we already have 30 new student support officers in our schools with another 20 to start in Term 3 this year.’

‘We are not cutting teachers’ pay. We are proposing that increases in teachers’ pay will, in the future, be linked to the attainment of professional standards, rather than time served.’

‘Over 27,000 teachers in our schools are already required to meet these standards to maintain their registration as teachers. We are not increasing class sizes or planning school closures.’

Holden deal ‘good news’ for the industry
Employers have welcomed the Holden deal, which will guarantee car manufacturing by the company in Australia for the next decade at least.

Australian Industry Group chief executive designate Innes Willox said the major investment by Holden, supported with funds from the Australian, Victorian and South Australian governments, is good news and provides much needed certainty for the sector and related industries.

‘It will be welcomed by the broad cross-section of Australian businesses that benefit from the management expertise and workforce skills nurtured in the auto sector.’

Willox said it is an important investment in an industry which is a core part of Australia’s manufacturing base and has deep links across the sector and the broader economy.

The deal includes a GM Holden-established suppliers’ working group, competitive grants for component makers to expand their customer base and product range, and new advocates to strengthen international and domestic linkages.

‘It is critical that each of these initiatives is representative of broader industry needs,’ Willox said.
‘They should be assessed against defined targets for opportunities created for component businesses in international markets and the GM global network.’

‘In the face of the strong headwinds of a high dollar and rising input costs the auto sector and components makers in particular have exercised ever-deeper discipline over costs, work practices and internal processes.’

‘They are highly efficient and this package should further boost their ability to withstand the external factors beyond their own control.’
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