Monthly Archives: June 2019

DuluxGroup workers strike amid looming job cuts

DuluxGroup managing director Patrick Houlihan. Photo: Jesse Marlow More than 100 staff at DuluxGroup have been barricaded from the paint maker’s Brisbane factory after they voted to go on strike following the company’s refusal to remove a cap on redundancy entitlements.

Dulux – which has branded the strike as “opportunistic” –  has installed temporary fencing on council land near the factory at Rocklea. Union officials say this is a deliberate decision aimed at stopping its members from forming a picket line.

The employees’ union, United Voice, and Dulux have been negotiating a new enterprise agreement for several months.

A Dulux spokeswoman said the company anticipated the strike and had “robust contingency plans”, including building up stock levels to ensure no interruptions to its customers.

Fairfax Media has also been told the company installed temporary fencing around the Rocklea site on Tuesday in anticipation for the industrial action, so striking workers could not form a picket line.

The Dulux spokeswoman, however, said the fencing was merely to ensure vehicles could continue to move freely from the site and not an attempt to stop union members from “lawfully assembling”.

She said the staff car park was open to striking employees and the barriers were part of a council approved traffic plan.

“Our intent was absolutely not to stop people picketing, but to make sure that it happens safely,” the spokeswoman said.

“This morning we kept the staff car park, which is on site, open for striking employees because we were so concerned that they may try to park along the roadway, which is less safe.”

But one worker said the fences were “pretty intimidating” and “over-the-top”.

“They’re trying to create an atmosphere that’s not here. The company has gone well overboard with the fence and the security bays on the road,” the worker said.

Dulux has offered employees an annual 3 per cent pay rise and proposed no adverse changes to conditions. It said in a statement this was “fair and reasonable”.

But United Voice is arguing for more generous redundancy entitlements. Dulux wants to retain the cap of 80 weeks pay, recognising 20 years’ of service plus other entitlements including unused annual leave, eight weeks’ severance pay and the paying out of long service leave on a pro rata basis.

But the union says the redundancy entitlements should be uncapped.

“Average service here is more than 20 years,” said United Voice official Damien Davie.

“They have been through different owners and stayed with the company through thick and thin. We just want fairer redundancy provisions.”

Dulux is expecting about 40 job losses when at Rocklea when it opens a new factory in Melbourne in late 2017. It said in a statement to the ASX that about 70 per cent of Rocklea’s 150 operating staff will be retained when the Melbourne site opens

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The Australian Women’s Weekly editor-in-chief Helen McCabe steps down

Helen McCabe has stepped down as editor-in-chief of The Australian Women’s Weekly. Photo: Damian BennettHigh-profile media identity Helen McCabe’s critics accused her of ignoring the core values of The Australian Women’s Weekly, replacing feel-good at-home celebrity stories with political profiles and that infamous shot of Julia Gillard knitting a kangaroo for Prince George.

But after a six-year tenure as the magazine’s editor-in-chief, on a salary of $400,000 a year, McCabe has shocked the magazine world by announcing she is parting company with the masthead she had steered into uncharted waters, making a few influential and powerful friends, as well as an enemy or two, along the way.

Last November, McCabe delivered the annual Andrew Olle Lecture, giving a wide-ranging speech in which the former political correspondent took sharp aim at everything from the judiciary to critics of her Julia Gillard knitting shoot.

She called for a review of laws she said hindered the media’s ability to tell “important” stories like that of Australian of the Year Rosie Batty, who lost her 11-year-old son Luke two years ago at cricket practice after he was attacked by his father.

“And my contention is that some legislation, and a culture of suppression orders, designed to protect our children, is doing more harm than good,” she said.

As for the Gillard knitting episode, McCabe reflected: “Regrettably, things went wrong for us during a second story about Ms Gillard just as Labor plotted to oust her. She was affronted by our story, which, as requested by her office, depicted her knitting a kangaroo for Prince George.

“This time she lost office the very same day the story hit the stands,” she said. “And later, in her memoir, she wrote that I treated her ‘shabbily’. Were we trying to help her get elected with the cover? No. Were we trying to bring her down with a knitting pattern of a kangaroo? Of course not … They were stories.”

McCabe has long forged strong ties with key players in politics, especially during the Abbott government’s reign, counting the likes of former chief of staff Peta Credlin as a personal friend. Several of her associates speculated she may move into a role in Canberra.

However McCabe also remains close to several key players within the News Corp camp for which she formerly worked as deputy editor of The Sunday Telegraph, prompting much speculation on Wednesday that she may soon be returning to the Murdoch press in a senior role.

First she must serve out the terms of her contract, which reportedly included six months of gardening leave before taking up another media post.

The Australian Women’s Weekly is owned by German magazine publisher Bauer Media.

In a statement issued by the magazine’s publisher, Matthew Dominello, it said McCabe had decided to leave the company to “pursue other interests”, and a replacement would be announced in the “near future”.

“Editing The Australian Women’s Weekly is one of the truly great honours in Australian publishing. But after 6½ years it is the right time to move,” McCabe said.

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India seen edging out China from top growth spot in 2016

Will India take the lead? Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal is to transform the country into a more pro-business economy by slashing red tape and boosting manufacturing. Photo: iStockChina déjà vu all over again while Saudis keep pumpingIndia seen as driving next wave of coal M&A in Australia

Could this be India’s year to shine? With China’s growth targets in doubt, India will stand out for being the only economy in the world to expand more than 7 per cent, according to surveys of Bloomberg economists. China, on the other hand, is enduring the slowest growth in a quarter century and is forecast to expand 6.5 per cent this year. While many of 2016’s economic underachievers will cluster in Latin America and Europe, we now look to Asia and Africa as the motor for global growth this year, accounting for 12 of the 20 best performers. The largest of these – China, India and Indonesia – combined make up more than 17 per cent of global gross domestic product and 40 per cent of the world’s population.

ChindiaThe world’s two most populous nations are in a constant tussle for supremacy. With an economy nearly five times larger than India’s, China remains the true heavyweight. Yet after a rotten start to the year, economists are increasingly zeroing in on its South Asian rival’s growth potential. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal is to transform India into a more pro-business economy by slashing red tape and boosting manufacturing. To spur investment, Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan cut borrowing costs four times last year. Though competitors, China is also India’s largest trade partner, so a slowdown there would hurt exports.

African promiseFor impressive growth, look to Africa with four countries making the cut: Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana. Among the 10 African nations surveyed, Uganda emerged as the continent’s best performer with expected growth of 5.6 per cent this year. This in spite of a volatile political landscape ahead of February elections.

Best of the RestIreland is the only euro economy to make the list with growth of 4.1 per cent expected this year. After years of austerity and a bailout, the Celtic Tiger is set to roar again while many of its European peers still struggle. Meanwhile on the other side of the Atlantic, the US is forecast to grow 2.5 per cent in 2016, placing the world’s biggest economy near the top of the field compared to its developed market peers. Neither the US nor other developed economies such as Canada, Germany and Australia made the top growth list, with the world economy expected to expand by around 3.3 per cent.  Current forecasts are the median estimate from each country’s latest survey conducted between October and December 2015, bringing the total number of economies surveyed to 93. Bloomberg

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Internet Explorer officially dies, but is your workplace ready to it let go?

Internet Explorer is dead. Long live Internet Explorer (uh, I mean Microsoft Edge).Wednesday marked the day when Microsoft finally ended support for older versions of its archaic web browser, Internet Explorer. But not everybody may be ready to face this reality.

There is a lot of hate for Internet Explorer and Microsoft is aware of this. That is why the Edge browser was created and the vendor is eager to encourage Windows users to embrace it so IE can be swept under the rug and eventually forgotten. One of the ways Microsoft is trying to push the adoption of Edge is to cease supporting Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10. That means no security patches for them from now on. While Internet Explorer 11 is still supported, it is clear Edge is Microsoft’s favoured child.

But so many people — and especially organisations — still cling onto Internet Explorer for a variety of reasons. Companies that have developed apps for Internet Explorer running on legacy systems will have to invest time and money to do an IT overhaul in order to make them work with newer and better web browsers. Some commercial enterprise offerings also operate better on Internet Explorer.

Security consulting company Duo Labs looked at its own enterprise user data globally to find out just how prevalent Internet Explorer is in organisations. It saw that 44 per cent of users who are using Microsoft’s browsers are still running older Internet Explorer versions that are now no longer supported and Edge adoption is still low.

“Unfortunately, the extended notice of this impending drop of support seems to have done little to drive users toward the new Edge browser platform,” Duo Labs research and development product manager Mike Hanley said in a blog post. “In fact, the ratio of Edge users to IE users is actually only around 1 in 15.”

The Duo Lab findings also suggest that a number of users have turned Automatic Updates off on their Windows PCs which would have moved outdated browsers onto Internet Explorer 11. This means they’re likely to have missed out on crucial operating systems patches as well.

Small businesses are also neglecting to upgrade their browsers. According to data from small business resource site Manta, 34 per cent of small business owners are still using Internet Explorer and of that group, 61 per cent are using version 10 or older. End of support for Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 will leave many of them in the lurch.

As noted by IT security firm BeyondTrust, Microsoft will offer some breathing space to select users who have yet to update from old versions of Internet Explorer: Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 will still receive updates for Internet Explorer 9, as that is the most current supported version on those operating systems.Windows Server 2012 will still receive updates for Internet Explorer 10, as that is the most current supported version on that operating system.Windows 8 is no longer supported, so customers must update to Windows 8.1 in order to receive Internet Explorer 11.

But for most users who are stuck in their ways of running antiquated Internet Explorers, the message is loud and clear: update your browsers. If your organisation requires you to use Internet Explorer for legacy apps and plug-ins, at least move on to Internet Explorer 11.

For IT managers, perhaps the end of support for Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 is a good time to bring up the need to upgrade older apps and IT systems to support newer and more reliable browsers to your business leaders. Yes, the cost to do so can be huge but the value of security should be considered as well.

“Using a less-secure browser in today’s security climate in order to support a legacy interface can ultimately be more costly than updating the application or working with a vendor to provide support for newer software in the event of a compromise,” Hanley said.

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Nurse held for Nepean Hospital shooting was on bail charged with assaulting officers

Senior Constable Luke Warburton, pictured with his dog Chuck, is in a critical but stable condition. Photo: David Darcy A man arrested over a double shooting inside Nepean Hospital’s emergency department overnight was allegedly bailed for a string of offences. Photo: Rachel Olding

A man charged with shooting a police officer and a security guard inside Nepean Hospital’s emergency department is a nurse from a nearby hospital who had been released on bail by police earlier in the day after allegedly attacking three officers.

The 39-year-old man was arrested overnight after allegedly holding a pair of scissors to the throat of a female doctor at the busy hospital in Kingswood, in Sydney’s west, and screaming that he was going to “kill someone”.

The first police officer on the scene, Senior Constable Luke Warburton, was shot in the upper thigh when his gun was pulled from his holster during a scuffle with the man in front of terrified patients and staff just before 10.30pm on Tuesday.

Senior Constable Warburton, 38, from the NSW Police Dog Squad, was listed as critical but stable on Wednesday.

The security guard was shot in the leg and was in a stable condition on Wednesday afternoon.

Fairfax Media has been told the alleged shooter was a registered nurse at Westmead Hospital who had left two years ago, partly due to ongoing problems with the drug ice.

He had never had any troubles with the police until Tuesday morning, when he was arrested and charged with a string of offences, including an aggravated break and enter in the Colyton area.

He was also charged with assaulting two police officers and resisting a third police officer.

However, police granted him bail on the sole condition that he stay away from an address in Colyton.

It’s understood the officers took him to hospital in police custody and served a court attendance notice on him while in hospital.

Hours later, he became embroiled in an argument with his wife, believed to be in her teens, that spilled over into the emergency department ward.

It ended with him allegedly firing Senior Constable Warburton’s gun twice before being subdued and taken away from the hospital screaming and swearing.

An elderly male patient, who was about to go to sleep in a neighbouring room, said he could hear the man screaming “I’m gonna kill you. I’m gonna kill you” and “You took my family”.

Another patient who heard the fight said he believed the man was arguing with his wife and she was among several people who kept screaming “Michael, Michael” at him.

“When the first shot went off, the woman let out this deafening scream. It was horrible. Then when the second shot went off she screamed even louder,” the patient said.

A patient dragged Senior Constable Warburton away from the gunman after he was shot, according to reports.

The man has been charged with shooting with intent to murder, discharging a firearm to resist arrest and detaining for advantage.

He was due to appear in Penrith Local Court on Wednesday but had to be taken back to Nepean Hospital to be assessed.

It’s understood he was discharged from hospital on Tuesday afternoon but somehow sustained further injuries, including a suspected broken jaw, forcing him to return to hospital on Tuesday night when the melee occurred.

He was expected to stay in hospital under heavy police guard on Wednesday night before appearing in court on Thursday.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn went to the hospital in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and spoke to the injured officer’s family. She said a critical incident investigation was under way.

“For everybody involved, this is a very traumatic situation,” she said.

“At the moment my thoughts are with the officer, my thoughts are with the officer’s family.

“I have spoken to his wife, his wife is at the hospital.”

Senior Constable Warburton was involved in the arrest of notorious bush fugitive Malcolm Naden in 2012 along with his police dog Chuck.

Gerard Hayes, the secretary of the Health Services Union, said security officers within the NSW health system were faced with violence daily.

“[The shooting] is an outrageous situation. This is an extreme example, of course, but security officers within health are putting up with violent activity every day,” he said.

“The ice situation is really getting out of control, particularly in emergency departments. We’re seeing a growing number of violence issues, particularly related to ice. This needs to be addressed.”

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner said she had agreed to a request to meet the Health Services Union following the shooting. The meeting is expected to take place next week.

“The security and welfare of staff and patients in our hospitals is always paramount,” Ms Skinner said.

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