Five migrant fruit pickers at the centre of a $10 million Federal Court claim against a labour hire company and its owners are seeking to be recognised as casuals, alleging their contracts for piecework were invalid and based average take home pay on an unrealistic workload.
The FWC has chastised an employer for failing to abide by "industrial fair play" when it neglected to tell a worker it would seek to slash his redundancy payment if he didn't accept an alternative role.
Two landmark class actions allege that a BHP Billiton subsidiary induced two labour hire companies to unlawfully engage hundreds of coal mineworkers as casuals and pay them less than the industry award.
A senior FWC member has approved an employer's request for legal representation in a dismissal case, but not before requiring hearings be conducted in private, that he be free to provide "appropriate" guidance to the unrepresented former worker, and that he retain the power to revoke permission if the lawyer complicates proceedings.
A geoscientist made redundant after almost two decades with the same company has been given a second chance to argue he was unfairly dismissed after a full bench found his former employer potentially led a Commission member into error when asserting there were no alternative positions available.
The FWC has rejected the ACTU's bid for a new entitlement for working parents and carers to work flexible hours, but has provisionally indicated it intends to publish a model award clause that will extend the right to request flexible work to casuals with six months service and require employers to provide more explanation for refusing requests.
An FWC full bench has refused to vary six retail awards to give workers an extra day's pay or a day off when public holidays fall their on non-working days, but has found insufficient evidence to establish an employer claim that it would have cost businesses up to $267 million a year.
In a ruling as to what constitutes "physical effort", a court has found that opening or removing curtains and straps securing a truck's load did not qualify a driver for an extra allowance under a transport industry award.