Labour bites

Just wiping noses?

Senator David Leyonhjelm has angered the early childhood sector by questioning whether the job really needs qualifications, arguing the requirement is over the top and has only driven up costs.

“Apart from the fact you want to make sure there aren’t any paedophiles involved, you have to have credentials these days to be a childcare worker,” he told Channel 10’s The Project.

“A lot of women — mostly women — used to look after kids in childcare centres. And then they brought in this national quality framework and they had to go and get a Certificate III in childcare in order to continue doing the job they were doing — you know, wiping noses and stopping the kids from killing each other.”

The outburst has prompted a torrent criticism from the sector and from parents but the Senator is unmoved and has published a statement on his Facebook page, stating that if families do not want to pay for the “highest quality” child care, they should not have to.

“Families that just want their children to be kept safe, and to have their noses wiped, should have that option available to them.

“If such freedom of choice offends highly educated child care workers, so be it,” he said. (Source: ABC)

Afghanistan’s flying carpet

According to the Afghanistan carpet union, 40% of experienced weavers have left the profession in just the past four years. An industry, which could offer great opportunities to entrepreneurs, is today bogged down with challenges.

A local news report found that one of the key challenges is salaries and that experienced carpet makers earn very little to produce carpets that are among the best and most sought after in the world. Because of these low wages, professional weavers are forced to look for work elsewhere. (Source: Tolo News)

First moves to unionise Mounties

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has applied to the Public Service Labour Relations Board to represent all civilian Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) members. The move comes two years after the Supreme Court of Canada granted RCMP members the right to form an association.

The RCMP’s 911 dispatchers could be the first sworn members of the national police force to be unionised. Civilian members are, despite not being gun-toting police officers, sworn members of the RCMP.

CUPE spokesman Philippe Gagnon said the telecom operators asked CUPE to be their unit. He refused to say whether the union is negotiating to represent thousands of other civilians working for the RCMP, such as those who work in the forensic lab or who monitor wiretaps.

“This is going to be, in essence, a dry run for when the regular member association makes an application and goes down that road.”

Frontline Mounties likely to take longer although they remain the only unrepresented police in Canada.

Heavy workloads and salaries are by far the biggest issue for Mounties right now.

RCMP members used to receive among the top three police agency salaries in Canada. Since around 2008 though, RCMP salaries have fallen steadily behind. Now the national police force’s salaries rank 73rd out of 82 agencies. (Source: CBC)

Education secretary forgets $125,000

Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, omitted a $125,000 political donation from disclosures she submitted to a Senate committee in advance of her confirmation hearing.

The missing donation to the anti-union Protecting Michigan Taxpayers, a Michigan committee that successfully opposed a ballot initiative that would have enshrined collective bargaining rights in the state constitution — represents a small fraction of the more than $5 million in donations that DeVos did disclose last week to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP). (Source: Washington Post).

Compiled by John Quessy