Labour bites

Redundancy relies on donations

Parents at the Old Mission Montessori School in San Diego have started a campaign to raise money for teachers and staff who will lose their jobs when the school closes in June.

The Catholic school, located on the grounds of the historic Mission San Luis Rey and owned by the mission parish, announced in February it was closing due to a sharp decrease in enrolment. Officials say the school has been struggling financially in recent years and has no money for severance.

“Our Old Mission Montessori teachers need your help,” says their website. “Sadly, our school is closing this June and there is no money available to pay any kind of severance. This will leave our teachers and staff, many of whom have been with the school for over 20 years, without a source of income or health care benefits.” (Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune)

No PPL for female jockeys

Frustrations are building as years of campaigning for female jockeys to be included in the paid parental leave scheme have amounted to nothing. Around a quarter of all jockeys in Australia are female, with the number rising to around half for the apprentice ranks.

The Australian Jockeys Association began lobbying the government in 2013 to change the anomaly that makes female jockeys ineligible for the scheme, but three social services ministers later, the association says it has failed to get any concrete movements on the issue, despite the government agreeing it needs to be fixed.

Racing safety regulations prohibit female jockeys from riding after their first trimester, making them ineligible for the scheme, as it requires women to have worked 10 of the preceding 13 months before having a baby.

A spokesperson for Social Services Minister Christian Porter said the government was currently in ‘good faith negotiations’ with crossbenchers to work through changes to include women in dangerous occupations in the legislation. (Source AAP)

Worker exploitation a national disgrace

Edwin De Castro’s account of his work life to a Senate inquiry into foreign worker exploitation is harrowing. It includes 60 to 70 hour working weeks, dangerous working conditions, gross underpayment of wages and overcrowded accommodation.

De Castro was one of dozens of people recruited by a labour hire company to work on a building site in Narrabri, NSW, until they were dismissed without notice and evicted from their accommodation.

Over the course of a year and 10 public hearings, the Senate inquiry, chaired by Senator Sue Lines, heard first hand evidence from victims, regulators, unions and academics, outlining cases of wage fraud, worker exploitation and in some cases slavery.

It has now released a report with the apt title A National Disgrace: The Exploitation of Temporary Work Visa Holders. (Source: SMH)

Tea company in hot water

In Montreal, Canadian beverage chain DavidsTea is facing a simmering challenge over alleged use of ‘on call’ shifts to control labour costs.

Attorneys general in New York and eight other jurisdictions have written to the company and others seeking information about their alleged use of a scheduling practice that requires employees to call before a shift to find out if they are required to work.

The letter asked DavidsTea to confirm whether it uses the controversial scheduling practice and submit information and documents by 25 April.

“Such unpredictable work schedules take a toll on employees,” said the.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that on call shifts are unfair because unpredictable work schedules make it difficult for employees to arrange reliable childcare or other pursuits while adding to stress and strain on family life.

DavidsTea has not commented on the accusations. (Source: Owen Sound Sun Times).

Women earn 15% less than men

In the United Kingdom a Trade Union Congress (TUC) report has revealed that young women with vocational qualifications earn on average 15% less than their male peers, a wider pay gap than for workers with academic qualifications

The 15% difference was higher than the gender pay gap of 10% between young men and women with academic qualifications. It was also higher than an overall gender pay gap of 9%, calculated from figures for gross hourly pay for workers aged between 22 and 30.

The TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said young women with vocational qualifications experience a “huge gender pay gap”, partly because they work predominantly in sectors where pay is poorer.

“In better-paid sectors like engineering and construction [women] remain a rarity,” she said. “Unless we challenge gender stereotyping and discrimination from the outset, the situation is not going to improve. Unions, employers and government must work together to provide better careers advice in schools and to support and improve training opportunities for all young people.” (Source: The Guardian)