Posts Tagged ‘wages’

  • Macaulay slams AIG interference in award talks

    (l-r) Andrew Macaulay, CEO PIAA, meets with Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan.

    After hard-fought negotiations with the AMWU, Printing Industries has pushed through changes to the printing award. Wage levels will not ‘materially change’ for the foreseeable future but updated competencies will see more new funding for training.

    ‘Robust discussions,’ PIAA industrial relations manager Paul Mitchell

    Andrew Macaulay declared success after the protracted negotiations resulted in substantial agreement with the union, but slammed the role of the Australian Industry Group (AIG), which tried to derail the outcome.

    “The Ai Group is not part of our industry or the Industry Reference Committee. What might benefit the metals industry or the building industry, may in fact be detrimental to the printing and packaging industries,” said Macaulay.

    In making a submission to the Fair Work Commission industrial relations manager, Paul Mitchell said the agreement comes after ‘robust discussions.’ Concessions and undertakings made by the union will ensure that wage classifications will not materially change, so as to keep wage levels consistent for the foreseeable future.

    The agreement was reached through adopting the new training package to replace old competencies in the Award and removing outdated competencies, updating the Award to reflect technological developments within the industry, particularly in digital print.

    “PIAA has sought AMWU acknowledgement that in order for the industry to be sustainable, we need to adapt,” said Macaulay. “Gone are the days where either of us can afford to have costly and uncertain protracted industrial disputes. That was a lose-lose situation for everyone.

    “This agreement is a steeping stone towards clarifying the industry competencies to reflect the real world of print production. It means we’re one step closer to realising Federal funding for the revitalisation of the TAFE system. It demonstrates once again that the PIAA is the authoritative voice when it comes to formulating policy for the benefit of the printing industry.”

    ‘Pleased that the PIAA agrees with the union’s position’: Lorraine Cassin, AMWU’s National Print Secretary.

    The AMWU’s National Print Secretary Lorraine Cassin said the updated competencies going into the award represent the real-world changes in the printing and packaging industry. “The updated competencies are part of the industry training package – ICP – which have only been updated after a forensic investigation of skills utilised and comprehensive consultation with the industry and a case for change developed,” Cassin said.

    Macaulay addressed opposition from the AIG to the union’s application for an award update.

    “Ai Group may be our friends philosophically on some macro-economic issues, but they do not understand nor represent the intricacies of the print and packaging industry. This training package has been years in the making. It has been facilitated by Price Waterhouse Coopers, the best consultancy in Australia. The PIAA has led the way with this. It is disappointing to see an unrelated entity try interfere in industry endorsed plans.”

    Cassin described the AIG’s position as “nonsensical and wrong. They have no understanding of the printing and packaging industry and have provided no factual evidence for their position. They appear to be hell bent on simply delaying the finalisation of the Award Review, which they have known about for over 2 years.”

    Mitchell said: “Wars fought on an ideological basis can remain in the 1970’s and 1980’s. We are working hard to take our Industry forward in the 21st century.”

    A key part of moving the award negotiations forward has been industry consultation facilitated by the Printing and Graphic Arts Industry Reference Committee. The IRC has representatives from across all sectors of the print and packaging sector. As peak industry body, PIAA chairs the IRC, which unanimously agreed on the recommendations made to the Department of Education, and which are now reflected in this award review.

    To further the work of the IRC, PIAA and the AMWU jointly met last week in South Australia to talk about substantial vocational education funding for the ailing state’s printing vocational sector with the highest levels of the Education Department.

    “We are talking big money and a Government committed to ensuring they have a thriving vocational educational sector. They are excited about the role print and packaging can play in this,” said Macaulay.

    Vocational education is a core focus of PIAA, he said. “The AMWU supports PIAA in this initiative. We will have industrial disagreements from time to time, but our mutual focus is improving the quantity and quality of training for our Industry. This is ultimately what these changes to the award are about.”


  • Fair Work raises minimum wage by 3.5%

    “We have to change the rules”: Sally McManus, ACTU secretary, speaks outside the Fair Work Commission today. (Source: Twitter)

    The Fair Work Commission has raised the national minimum wage by $24.30 a week from July 1, bringing it to $719.20 a week or $18.93 an hour.

    Justice Iain Ross, FWC.

    The 3.5 percent increase, which will also apply to all modern award wages, is only half of the unions’ requested $50 boost but almost double the $12.50 rise employers argued for. It will affect 2.3 million Australians currently being paid award wages. Justice Iain Ross, president of the Fair Work Commission, cited a healthy economy and labour market as factors in the decision. “The circumstances are such that it is appropriate to provide a real wage increase to those employees who have their wages set by the national minimum wage or by a modern award,” he said.

    Sally McManus, ACTU secretary, welcomed the decision and said the unions would continue pushing to peg the minimum wage at 60 percent of the median wage, as set by the OECD. “We have to change the rules on the minimum wage,” she said. “People who have been forced into poverty by the inadequacy of this wage should not have to wait every year to see if they will be saved by the Fair Work Commission. The minimum wage should be set to keep pace with wages.”

    Paul Mitchell, PIAA

    Printing Industries, however, expressed concern with the FWC’s decision, which does not link wage growth to productivity increases. According to Paul Mitchell, industrial relations manager at PIAA, the prevailing economic circumstances for businesses make it very hard to employ people and provide wage growth unless it is linked to productivity. “With high taxes, high energy costs and now higher labour costs, doing business in Australia has never been harder,” he said. “We will examine over the coming weeks the impact on this rise on our industry, but already we know it’s going to be tough for some businesses to cope with, especially small businesses and particularly those in regional and rural Australia.”