Labour bites

Windsor Castle on strike

The Queen is to face industrial action by members of the royal household for the first time after staff at Windsor Castle voted for work to rule in a row over pay.

Low-paid staff at the castle were balloted in a dispute about leading guided tours, with 84% voting for action. The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) claims staff have suffered years of pay restraint and are paid less than the living wage, with new recruits starting on as little as

Surprise surprise Wal-Mart misbehaviour

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union has asked the US National Labor Relations Board to force Wal-Mart to reinstate employees at five stores,accusing the retailer of closing the locations to retaliate against workers for attempts to organise for better pay and benefits. Wal-Mart Stores, which announced last week that it was temporarily closing five stores in Texas,Oklahoma, Florida and California to fix plumbing issues, denied the union’s claims. It said it would work to reopen the stores, which employed about 2,200 people, as quickly as possible.“We don’t believe there is any basis for an injunction,” the world’s largest retailer said in a statement.The Union said Wal-Mart closed a store in Pico Rivera, California,because it has been a center ofworker activism in recent years,including having the first U.S. strike in 2012. The union claimed Wal-Mart shut down the other four stores as cover for the move. (Source: Reuters)

Fight for $15

Workers in more than 200 US cities walked out on jobs or joined protests bank rolled by organised labour in latest bid to raise minimum wage The protests are calling for a minimum wage of $15 an hour in the US, more than twice the current federal minimum of $7.25.Speaking at a protest in San Francisco, Karen Joubert, a nurse and Fight for $15 organiser, said: “When you pay someone a decent wage, it helps him to get better health care and take care of his family. The strikes are fuelling a national debate over low wages in the US.President Barack Obama has been pushing unsuccessfully for a national raise to $10.10.But a national increase still faces stiff opposition. The International Franchise Association, the world’s largest organisation representing franchise owners, called the Fight for$15 protests “a multimillion-dollar public relations campaign designed to mislead the public and policy makers”.(Source: The Guardian)

Fair Work Ombudsman unfair

The federal workplace watch dog has been criticised for not prosecuting a Taiwanese company that brought Chinese workers into Australia, paid them no wages for months and left them to live on a$15-a-day “food allowance”.Taiwanese company Chia Tung Development underpaid 13 Chinese and 30 Filipino workers more than$873,000 for labour performed in regional NSW over six months to February this year. The construction union said on Wednesday that the company should have been prosecuted given the extent of the abuse perpetrated on the workers.The Chinese employees were promised about $10 an hour but were paid no wages for three months and only received a $15 a day ‘food allowance’. Almost 30 workers lived in a five bedroom house with one toilet at Nowra, with nine sleeping in the living room. At Narrabri, six workers lived in a work site office, while four lived in an onsite demountable. Chia Tung unlawfully deducted fees for visa processing, flights, insurance, food and transport from the wages of the Filipino workers. Despite the severity of the offences and the level of underpayment, the Ombudsman did not try to prosecute Chia Tung through the courts but opted to seek an enforceable undertaking from the company, arguing it achieved outcomes that would not have been possible through litigation. (Source: AFR)