Freo's View

REDEPLOY FREMANTLE STAFF ASAP!

 

With May Day just around the corner it is very disappointing that Fremantle Council last night voted to stand down around 60 staff members, as part of the special Covid-19 budget amendment, with no commitment from the elected members to redeploy the affected staff in the future.

It is also extremely disappointing that the State Government is not taking any responsibility and action, with Local Government Minister David Templeman saying there is no need for councils to stand down staff and Premier Mark McGowan on record saying that the action by Fremantle Council is appalling.

A city that gets a large part of its revenue from parking fees and fines, tourism and the hospitality industry clearly is far more in financial strive than other councils. For the State Government to just say that it is a local government problem is unfair and unrealistic.

The Labor State Government needs to look better after local council workers and can’t just let them rot. These are the people who keep our communities going, who do a lot of the basic jobs and who deserve acknowledgment for that. To put them on the scrap heap because of financial difficulties at local government level is not right and the unions need to step up and start crying a lot louder than what they have done so far.

May Day should be the day where the entire Fremantle community makes it very clear that we want the affected staff members to be redeployed as soon as possible! All the bullsh.t that we are all in this together is just a PR slogan!

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE CITY STAFF UPROAR

Posted in city of fremantle, covid-19, employment, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on April 17, 2020

 

There are a lot of unhappy staff at the City of Fremantle because the coronavirus crisis has forced CEO Phil St John to take drastic measures and cut staff costs.

Some of the staff of the Fremantle Arts Centre, Leisure Centre and Library, which are all closed, have been directed to take annual leave, and unfortunately for some that means leave without pay.

Of the 380 staff at Freo City 170 have been pushed to accept a 20 per cent reduction in working hours, which for them means a 20 per cent loss of income, which is the same as the voluntary pay cuts for the 23 senior staff and 13 elected members.

Fremantle no longer charges parking fees and I have not seen parking officers for days, so presumably parking fines are also no longer issued, and these officers might also be out of work temporarily.

While there has been outrage on the City of Fremantle Facebook page, with affected staff members complaining the measures are unfair to them, it is clear that Fremantle is financially struggling with a huge loss of income from parking, commercial property leases, Fremantle Arts Centre concerts, and Leisure Centre fees, and that expenditure had to be cut somehow.

I believe though it is fair to ask also which directors and senior managers are essential during the Covid-19 crisis, e.g. Community Development, People&Culture, when there are no festivals or community events to organise.

To put balance to the debate though, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said yesterday that the Federal Government was not contemplating pay cuts for the Cabinet.

These are bloody hard times, and so many people are severely affected by it, and of course those who are affected always feel they are unfairly dealt with. I feel for all of them, and hope all the restrictions will not last as long as we all fear. Stay strong!

Roel Loopers

 

VOLUNTARY PAY CUTS AT CITY OF FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, covid-19, employment, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on April 9, 2020

 

City of Fremantle senior staff will take a 20 per cent voluntary pay cut to help combat the serious financial impacts on the City of the COVID-19 crisis.

CEO Philip St John has announced that he, directors and managers had all agreed to cut their salaries as part of the City’s response to a forecast $6 million loss in revenue between now and the end of the financial year.

 Mayor Brad Pettitt and Fremantle councillors have also agreed to voluntarily reduce their allowances by 20 per cent.

 City of Fremantle staff employed in areas that are currently unable to operate at full capacity because of COVID-19 will work reduced hours or take leave.

 Essential local services such as waste collection, community safety, infrastructure maintenance, customer service and street cleaning will continue to operate as normal during this time.

 Mr St John said the devastating effect of the coronavirus on Fremantle businesses and residents was having a similar impact on the City.

 “Like the rest of our community, the City is feeling deeply the economic effects of COVID-19,” Mr St John said.

 “A large proportion of our income – about one third – comes from parking fees, commercial rent and other charges. These revenue streams have pretty much disappeared overnight.

 “As a consequence, we expect to lose around $2 million in revenue a month between now and 30 June. As with any household budget, the only way to cope in an environment of drastically reduced income is to reduce spending.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt called on other levels of government to be more mindful of the serious impact that COVID-19 was having on local councils.

 “It’s disappointing that local governments have been excluded from the Commonwealth’s JobKeeper program,” Mayor Pettitt said.

 “Councils like Fremantle are being asked to substantially cut revenue through freezing rates, free parking and other measures, but we are also being asked to maintain expenditure – the biggest of which is salaries.

 “This is unsustainable without federal and state support.”

NEW FREO ERA OVERSHADOWED BY CLOSING CAFES

Posted in cafe, city of fremantle, community, employment, health, hospitality, Uncategorized by freoview on March 23, 2020

 

 

Today should have been a special day for Fremantle with the start of a new era, with the first 300 of the 1700 staff of the Department of Communities moving into their new offices at Kings Square. Unfortunately this will be overshadowed by the fact that all our cafes, restaurants, bars, taverns, nightclubs will be required to close from 1pm today because of the coronavirus. Only take away will be allowed from those premises.

While this is a necessary measure by the Federal Government the hardship on small and medium businesses and sole operators will be devastating, and I have grave fears that quite a few of them will have to close their doors for ever.

Wholesalers will end up with with all the food the hospitality operators have ordered but will now have to cancel, sole operators who supply cakes and muffins, etc. to cafes will no longer have that income, and it is likely that most of the causal staff will lose their jobs. I hear that was already announced in a staff meeting at Bread in Common yesterday.

I am very optimistic about the resilience of the human race, and I am certain we will get through this unprecedented worldwide crisis, but I am gutted for all my friends in the hospitality industry. I feel really down, deflated and so incredibly powerlessness, and all I can do is wish I’ll win Lotto so I can go around an hand out big wads of cash to my fellow Freo people and help them get through this period of hardship and heart break.

Everybody has to do their bit! It was mind blowing to see  a Fremantle dancefloor packed like sardines on Saturday night and people flocking to beaches and all ignoring the social distancing requirements. I observed some of that irresponsible behaviour at Bathers Beach venues on Sunday afternoon. Now new laws had to be introduced to stop that nonsense

Roel Loopers

 

MUA NEW PORT ATTACK ON MEMBER FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, employment, fremantle ports, maritime, Uncategorized, Westport taskforce by freoview on February 1, 2020

 

MUA

 

Fremantle wharfies are not happy with plans for a new port at Kwinana, so the Maritime Uniion of Australia(MUA) have put a full page advertisement in the Fremantle Herald attacking our local member Minister Simone McGurk.

The MUA claims it will cost 8,000 Freo jobs, and that it would be a broken election promise by the Labor party, who stated they would keep Fremantle a working port.

It is still very premature as the final report of the Westport Taskforce has not been completed and the government has yet to make a decision, but all indications are that the first three preferred options of the taskforce are to move the port to Kwinana and leave Fremantle for cruiseships, and I too would be disappointed about that.

There is no doubt that a new port would be largely automated, so fewer jobs for wharfies, but it is probably a good idea for the MUA to sit down with the stevedore companies and state government to make sure wharfies are being retrained to whatever new jobs will become available.

I have stated it many time that I love the working port in Fremantle and the huge cranes on North Quay, and a new port will be at least 10-15 years away if and when the labor government decide yo build one near Kwinana, so I won’t be seeing it.

Roel Loopers

STAFF PAY WORRIES AT SOMA KITCHEN

Posted in city of fremantle, employment, hospitality, Uncategorized by freoview on December 12, 2019

 

a

 

Very disappointing to hear that the owner of Fremantle’s SOMA Kitchen in Little Market Street will be taken to court by the Fair Work Ombudsman for failing to comply with an order to calculate money owed to an employee and back-pay him.

It is alleged that the worker was paid only $ 212.50 for 146 hours of working at the restaurant.

Penalties of up to $ 30,000 are possible, so that would be a big shock for owner Giancarlo Daniele. The court hearing is scheduled for February 13 next year.

It appears that there are too many mistakes made in the hospitality industry when it comes to paying workers, and even governments, such as the City of Fremantle, have been caught out underpaying staff. That needs to improve.

Roel Loopers

STAFF PAYMENT ERRORS AT FREMANTLE CITY

Posted in city of fremantle, employment, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on November 21, 2019

 

Not only famous TV chefs and the hospitality industry have problems managing proper staff payments, as this media release by the City of Fremantle shows:

The City of Fremantle has advised that at the time of the recent negotiations on the City of Fremantle Workforce Agreement (Inside EBA), the City discovered a number of employees had not been paid in line with shift penalty clauses of the EBA.

The error was a misinterpretation of the shift penalty clause in the EBA and the additional leave entitlements clause.

This affected 143 casual employees and shift workers, mostly employed at the Fremantle Leisure Centre, Fremantle Arts Centre, Library and Visitor Centre, as well as parking and community safety officers.

City of Fremantle Acting Chief Executive Officer Paul Garbett said the City was very sorry that this had happened and apologised to all affected staff.

Mr Garbett said while no staff were paid less than their award wage, as the City’s EBA rates are above the relevant award, the City had incorrectly calculated penalties and additional leave entitlements which meant these benefits were not fully passed on at the time they were accrued.

Mr Garbett said all affected employees have been back-paid, or are in the process of receiving the additional leave entitlements they accrued. 

“We pride ourselves on ensuring our staff are well looked after and we have always worked with unions and our staff to provide the best working conditions possible,” Mr Garbett said.

“As soon as we became aware of this issue, the City’s focus has been on making sure we resolve it as quickly and thoroughly as possible.”

The error was the result of an unintentional incorrect interpretation within the EBA of certain clauses applying to casual and shift employees dating back several years in some instances. The EBA is renegotiated every three years and the error had not been identified by the City, its employees or union delegates previously.

The total amount of the back payments made, or in the process of being made, to staff is $564,949, with the average payment being around $3950.

 “The City has also identified that up to 27 employees have been overpaid. These employees are not required to repay the overpayment.

 “To ensure this situation does not occur again the City now has an agreed interpretation of the EBA which has been approved by our Industrial Relations consultant,” Mr Garbett said.

The City has also implemented rigorous payroll checking processes and is reviewing its auditing processes.

Any former employee who feels they may be affected can contact the City on 1300 MYFREO (1300 693 736).

Roel Loopers

LOCAL GOVERNMENT A STRANGE BEAST

Posted in city of cockburn, city of fremantle, employment, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on November 11, 2019

 

Sometimes I don’t get how local government works, as is the case with the request for rent reduction by Evergreen Golf Pty LTD, which manages the Fremantle public golf course.

Only on June 26 this year Council agreed to accept the offer of another ten-year lease for the golf course to the company, but on Wednesday, just half a year later, the FPOL Committee will decide to give Evergreen Golf a 50% rent reduction because of the impact the High Street Project by Main Roads has on the operation of the golf course and the alleged considerable drop in patronage.

The City sees itself as a conduit between the course operators and MRWA and will try to get the money they are losing back, but it makes little sense to me. Why ask for rent reduction six months after getting a new lease approved and why should the City of Fremantle take the financial risk instead of waiting for the outcome of the negotiations with MRWA?

Down the road our southern neighbours in the City of Cockburn gave their CEO a new four-year contract only six weeks ago, but he suddenly went on indefinite sick leave because the City of Cockburn has not provided him with a safe working place. Really, sign a new contract with an employer who does not provide a safe working environment? How strange is that.

Maybe all Mayor Logan Howlett and Council should do is give their CEO a hardhat, safety glasses and steelcap boots, like FiFo workers on far more dangerous mine sites get.

Local Government is sometimes a Yes Minister comedy it seems.

Roel Loopers

NOTRE DAME UNIVERSITY STAFF WANT BETTER PAY

Posted in city of fremantle, education, employment, notre dame university, Uncategorized by freoview on July 28, 2019

 

 

Leaflets in cafes around Fremantle by the National Tertiary Education Union-NTEU show that there is a bit of controversy at Notre Dame University about wages, superannuation and academic freedom.

Notre Dame Australia-NDA is highly rated by students and the Fremantle campus is in one of Australia’s most beautiful cities, but it appears that staff are not happy with their wages and conditions.

There is a demand for a 3% pay rise and the NTEU claims that NDA staff get paid significantly less than the staff at other Australian universities.

The union has also asked Notre Dame for an increase in superannuation from 12% to 17%, because all other staff at Australian universities receive the 17%.

Last but not least NDA has refused any calls for protection of academic and intellectual freedom.

NTEU wants Notre Dame Australia to implement an equitable workload management so that academic staff can regulate their working hours.

Roel Loopers

Comments Off on NOTRE DAME UNIVERSITY STAFF WANT BETTER PAY

WHARFIES STRIKE AT FREMANTLE PORT

 

port cranes at sunset

 

Wharfies at DP World stevedores in Fremantle Port will go on a 48-hour strike this Thursday. This is part of a national strike for a new enterprise bargaining agreement.

Roel Loopers

Comments Off on WHARFIES STRIKE AT FREMANTLE PORT

%d bloggers like this: