MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO – 20 October 2017

DODGY UNION DEALS HIT SMALL BUSINESSES: The Weekend Australian, October 14, 2017 published an article by Grace Collier under the heading ‘Make Labor pay for union collusion with Coles and Woolworths’ (copied below) that sets out totally inexcusable inaction by the Government, characterised by Collier as: “. . . regrettable behaviour, the mark of cowardice . . .” And, we agree.

The Senate committee which “. . . “was Labor dominated, unfortunately, so the report is a whitewash, designed to protect the party’s union masters. The report says nothing meaningful about the dodgy deals, how to prevent them in future and provide redress to the victims. The committee’s non-Labor members offer their own advice and comments, including a dissenting report from Coalition senators, which is where the government needs to look.

It says, As this inquiry has exposed, for many years unions have signed enterprise agreements with large enterprises that include cuts to Sunday penalty rates” and “small businesses have been on an uneven playing field relative to large businesses”. Some of the examples cited are:

  • A bed and breakfast has needed to pay about $10 an hour more than a five-star hotel.
  • A takeaway shop has needed to pay about $8 an hour more than KFC, McDonald’s or Pizza Hut.
  • A specialty food shop has needed to pay about $5 an hour more than Woolworths or Coles.

The Government having known about this reprehensible situation since the Heydon Royal Commission, 12 months ago. has done little or nothing about it, leads us to conclude that it is either hiding behind the report as an excuse for doing nothing, and/or as Collier suggests: “Time and again, Coalition types lack the nerve, the killer instinct. In political battle, they lack the efficient brutality of Labor.

Again we agree, and small business expects decisive action and we expect it now.

TECHNOLOGY SAVVY: Over the past year CoSBA has provided information and warnings to assist our members and small business in general about technology changes, including the internet, systems, computers and smart phones and problems that have arisen. Below is a warning from SmartCompany, October 17, 2017 (copied below) that: “A massive vulnerability has been found in the WPA2 security protocol used by the majority of modern wireless networks, allowing potential hackers to steal sensitive data just by being in range of a vulnerable network.” The article warns: SMEs should update systems immediately and advise that: “SME owners keen to put their mind at ease should chase up their router vendors about a patch for the vulnerability and should be keeping their computer systems updated, . .

“HENIOUS” UNDERPAYMENT: As a poignant warning to small businesses “A Gold Coast restaurant and its director have been fined more than $280,000 for underpaying nine workers and falsifying payment records, despite being explicitly warned not to fabricate records . . . In the judgment, Judge Vasta noted the director “did say to the Fair Work Ombudsman that he felt that he had to underpay so as to stay competitive”, believing the motivation for the underpayment was likely due to increased competition. Judge Salvatore Vasta labelled the underpayments as “heinous”

“Whilst one applauds persons trying to stay competitive, this cannot be done at the expense of the employees and in breach of the FW Act,” Judge Vasta said.” (Full report copied below)