The Finance Sector Union of Australia (FSU) is taking action in the Federal Court seeking orders to have money changing company UAE return its employees to the Banking Finance and Insurance Award (BFI).
UAE Foreign Exchange Australia Pty Ltd (UAE) is a global money changing firm, with offices across Australia.
UAE Foreign Exchange had employed its workforce under the BFI Award but following Government legislation to reduce penalty rates for general retail workers, the company moved its workforce to the Retail Award.
UAE subsequently took the opportunity to reduce the payment of penalty rates to its employees in line with the Retail Award.
The FSU will tell the Federal Court that globally UAE Foreign Exchange describes itself as part of the finance industry but now says that in Australia it is a retail outlet.
The migration of employees to the Retail Award followed advice to UAE from the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) that Retail was the correct award. That advice contradicted earlier advice by the FWO that they should be employed under the BFI Award.
The FSU became aware of the change after union organisers were denied access to the UAE workforce and premises. UAE managers told FSU organisers they had no right of access to its premises because workers were now employed under the Retail Award.
The following quotes can be attributed to FSU National Secretary Julia Angrisano.
“We are very concerned that this company is disadvantaging its workforce by moving them to the Retail Award and cutting back their penalty rates,” Ms Angrisano said.
“The FSU is not prepared to stand by and allow employees who work for companies that are clearly part of the finance industry have their penalty rates cut under the pretence that they are working for retailers,” she said.
“In our view UAE Foreign Exchange Australia is a financial services company and not a retailer. We are not prepared to see finance companies pick and choose awards to suit themselves.”
“Employees working in the finance sector deserve to be paid properly for working weekends and giving up time with their families.”
“This change to penalty rates means losses of up to $14,000 per year for UAE employees who work weekends.”
Media contact John Hill 0412197079