Peter Gutwein says the deal won’t impact seasonal workers in Tasmania



Posted

January 22, 2021 15:53:04

Seasonal workers from the Pacific Islands will be allowed into Victoria under special quarantine arrangements after a deal was struck with Tasmania.

Source: ABC News
|
Duration: 53sec

Topics:

farm-labour,

rural,

agricultural-crops,

tas,

pacific,

vic

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Kenya taps Sh1.3bn US fund for workers’ rights ahead of new trade deal


Economy

Kenya taps Sh1.3bn US fund for workers’ rights ahead of new trade deal


Textile workers at Altex EPZ Textile Manufacturing in Athi River. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Kenya is set to benefit from a Sh1.29 billion US government fund meant to improve compliance with international labour standards in key export sectors ahead of a new trade deal with Washington.
  • The US Department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) said Kenya is among three African countries picked for the grant alongside the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and one other unnamed nation.
  • The move comes as Kenya stepped up talks for a new trade deal with Washington before the expiry of the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (Agoa).

Kenya is set to benefit from a Sh1.29 billion US government fund meant to improve compliance with international labour standards in key export sectors ahead of a new trade deal with Washington.

The US Department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) said Kenya is among three African countries picked for the grant alongside the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and one other unnamed nation.

“Made available through the Department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB), the grant of $11.7 million (Sh1.29 billion) will support efforts to improve compliance with relevant international labour standards and acceptable conditions of work, with an emphasis on promoting occupational safety and health in one or more export-oriented economic sectors, such as the mining and quarrying sector,” the Department said in an update.

“ILAB’s mission is to promote a fair global playing field for workers and businesses in the United States and around the world by enforcing trade commitments, strengthening labour standards and combating international child labour, forced labour and human trafficking.”

The move comes as Kenya stepped up talks for a new trade deal with Washington before the expiry of the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (Agoa), which allows sub-Saharan African countries to export thousands of products to the US without tariffs or quotas until 2025.

“We appreciate what has been achieved through Agoa, but it is time we moved to much closer trade arrangements that are mutually beneficial. We will not lose focus on concluding the FTA,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Tuesday when he bid farewell to outgoing US Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter at State House, Nairobi.

Agoa grants 40 African States quota and duty-free access to the US market of more than 6,000 product lines. Statistics showed that the two-way goods trade between these nations totalled Sh106 billion in 2019, up 4.9 per cent from 2018.

The grant by ILAB comes as boost for the two nations eyeing enhanced trade between themselves but in an environment where there is more focus on compliance with global human rights and labour standards.

Employee welfare is a sensitive matter in the US, with businesses required to ensure their operations and dealings both at home and abroad complied with international labour standards. The US foreign policy, for example, typically portrays forced labour as a violation of international human rights standards that must be stamped out.

All new-generation free-trade agreements (FTAs) around the world include a sustainable-development clause between the parties promoting, among other things, a set of labour standards as well as conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

For instance, most of the United States’ and European Union’s FTAs contain provisions to protect the right to collective bargaining and freedom of association and forbid discrimination at the place of work.

A recent report by ILAB raised a concern over child labour in Kenya—an indication that the matter would get prominence in the employee welfare grant.

“Children in Kenya engage in the worst forms of child labour, including in domestic service and commercial sexual exploitation, each sometimes as a result of human trafficking. Children also engage in child labuor in agriculture,” the bureau said, pointing out that Kenya has yet to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.

Kenyans last October witnessed the significance of human rights practices in international trade when multiple European supermarket chains suspended supply orders from the Murang’a-based agricultural firm Kakuzi, citing human rights abuse claims.

The fallout from the human rights abuse claims against Kakuzi saw the withdrawal of supply contracts by UK’s Sainsbury’s, Germany’s discount grocer Lidl and Britain’s largest supermarket Tesco.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed Kakuzi has been sued in the UK over alleged human rights abuses on its Kenyan plantations—placing it at risk of fines and compensation to the victims if found guilty.

Through its Kent-based parent Camellia Plc, the company has been sued over allegations of assault and sexual misconduct allegedly conducted by employees. The UK-listed company Camellia owns 50.7 per cent of Kakuzi.

Law firm Leigh Day said that 79 Kenyans had filed a legal claim in the High Court in London against Camellia for alleged human rights abuses by security guards employed by Kakuzi, its Kenyan subsidiary.

Camellia employs 78,000 people worldwide and says it is the largest avocado producer in Kenya, which according to the International Trade Centre is Africa’s biggest avocado exporter.

The accusations, dating from 2009 to January this year, include rapes, attacks on local villagers and a man being beaten to death, Leigh Day said.

Kakuzi has, however, rejected the claims made by Leigh Day, saying it did not “condone any criminal activities or behaviour by any of its employees”.

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David Nofoaluma to remain with Wests Tigers until 2025 after signing new deal


Wests Tigers have tied down popular winger David Nofoaluma for another four years.

Nofoaluma was the club’s best player last season and will now remain at the joint venture until the end of 2025 after signing a four-year contract extension.

David Nofoaluma will now remain at the Wests Tigers until 2025.Credit:Getty Images

The 27-year-old became an instant fan favourite in 2017 when he showed no hesitation re-signing with the club as the ‘Big Four’ – James Tedesco, Aaron Woods, Luke Brooks and Mitch Moses – were all weighing up offers elsewhere.

The Campbelltown junior made it known again late last year he did not want to leave the Tigers, and while the club also viewed him as a one-club player, they were only prepared to table a three-year extension.

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How to Teach People to Deal With You



5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


As a small-business owner, I want to empower my employees to negotiate better…with me.

I care for my team and I want them to feel valued. I also recognize that if my employees believe they are treated fairly, they will be more engaged. If they know I am listening to their wants, needs and concerns, they are more likely to listen to my wants, needs and concerns, which translate to my vision for the company.

I’m not alone.

According to a recent Oxford University study, happy workers are 13% more productive — and they’re more likely to stick around.

So, yes, I want to have conversations about benefits and pay with my employees. Moreover, I want them to feel empowered to start the chat. But I also want these talks to be participatory, pleasant affairs — not heart-pounding encounters we all just want to get out of alive.

It’s not impossible. Here are my five successful strategies…

Related: 3 Golden Rules of Negotiating

Set a date

For most employees, conversations about salary and benefits feel weird and awkward. Even the prospect induces dread. I’m sure that dread is one reason why a Randstad US survey found 57% of women and 51% of men have never negotiated their pay. Help workers over the initial fear by getting a meeting on the calendar. Let them know how the discussion fits into the process of determining their salary and benefits. Emphasize that this is not the meeting. Rather it’s the beginning of a dialogue about their role in the company’s success over the next year.

Provide a list of questions you’d like to discuss

 By answering a few simple questions, you focus your team members and yourself. Some queries I ask: What role do you want to have with the firm and are there new responsibilities you’d like to take on? How can I help you be successful, such as by supporting you in learning a new skill or clearing roadblocks? And what information do you want me to consider in our discussion about your compensation and benefits next year?

Related: How to Negotiate More Effectively in the Current Home Market

Have them gather facts and figures 

Spell out the research they should conduct before your meeting. For salary discussions, I ask employees to bring industry comps and other information to help evaluate if they are being paid correctly. Similarly I make sure to know as much about our industry, company and comp plan as my team members know about their specific job titles. I share my sources with my team so they know what I am referencing. All this work helps us get on the same page about salary expectations. At the same time, the conversation can clarify discussions beyond pay. If an employee is currently a trader but hopes to move into the role of portfolio analyst, I know that going into the discussion.

Model clarity 

Encourage your team members to be very clear with what they are asking for and why it’s important to them. If they want more flexible work hours, for example, ask them to come with a solid case. On your end, you need to be clear with your response. If you do allow more flexibility, set expectations for deadlines, accountability and communication. Be clear with yourself and your employee about how approving flexible hours will affect others in the company. Will you need to offer the same benefit to everyone in the office?

Alternatively, if you deny the request, be clear as to why. For example: I require that some job functions happen in our office, where I know my team has a high-functioning IT network. Certain activities, like portfolio trades or live events, are too high-risk to perform from a location with questionable connectivity. So, yes, someone can work from home due to COVID but, no, they cannot spend the next six months at a beach hotel in the Bahamas. When your team understands why you are able — or not able -— to say “yes”, it helps them figure out what they can ask for next time. And it helps them construct that future ask in a way that benefits both them and the company.

Know “no” is just the beginning 

Prepare yourself for pushback. Employees who feel heard and respected in a negotiation are likely to keep pushing for a resolution that satisfies you both. Are you ready to change your answer? And what do you need in return for a yes? Don’t worry about taking time to mull over your final decision. Your employee will appreciate your willingness to think the options through more extensively.

Related: In Order to Negotiate Better, I Had to Unlearn ‘L.A. Law’

Empowering my employees to succeed in these tough conversations has not only helped reduce my turnover, but also produced additional benefits. We’ve all sharpened our negotiation skills, my team feels valued and valuable, and I don’t wonder if folks are happy and likely to stay or silently disgruntled and looking for another opportunity. My business is better for the negotiation toolkit I share with my employees, and yours can be, as well.

Brennan Financial Services / 8201 Preston Road, Suite 400, Dallas TX 75225 / (972) 980-7526 Securities and advisory services offered through FSC Securities Corporation (FSC), member FINRA/SIPC, and financial planning services through DBT Wealth Consultants. FSC is separately owned and other entities and/or marketing names, products or services referenced here are independent of FSC.

 

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Border checkpoints ‘no big deal’ for interstate truckers | Goulburn Post


news, local-news, granger, freight, victoria, border, Goulburn, Southern Highlands

Border checkpoints haven’t slowed down interstate truck drivers as online shoppers fuel freight. Peter Granger from Grangers Freight Lines said current checkpoints were “no big deal for truckers”. “The waiting period depends on the time of day and traffic, but often the trucks get through within 20 minutes,” he said. READ ALSO: For the Goulburn businessman the checkpoints hadn’t negatively impacted the company and so far there had been “no major dramas”. Mr Granger said officials usually let freight trucks flow through the border and diverted cars for checking. “It’s not as bad as everyone makes it out to be,” Mr Granger said. The business has strict workplace COVID-19 precautions in place with paperwork required to get through checkpoints. “When drivers get to their destination they are not in close contact with anyone,” he said. “There is even a separate port-a-loo for interstate drivers to use.” Drivers don’t assist in unloading or loading the truck and only ensure the load has been secured correctly before they return home. The family-run company currently has an average of one truck passing through the Victorian border a day. While some industries have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, Mr Granger said freight was “flat out”. “We have been really busy,” he said. “In general the transport industry has been good.” While the importation of goods from overseas has slowed down, Mr Granger said products made in Australia were still quick to be delivered. Online shopping goods, as well as building and landscaping products, currently make up the majority of items requiring freight for the business. Grangers Freight Lines is based out of Goulburn with depots in Moss Vale, Sydney and Melbourne. The business was established in 1953.

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Between a rock and a softer place – Spain and Britain do a deal over Gibraltar | Europe


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UK union calls for new car investment at PSA’s Vauxhall factory after Brexit deal





FILE PHOTO: New Vauxhall cars are seen standing outside the company’s factory in Ellesmere Port, northern England, in this October 27, 2008 file photograph. REUTERS/Phil Noble/Files

January 5, 2021

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s biggest trade union Unite called on Tuesday for French automaker PSA to build electrified vehicles at its Vauxhall/Opel car factory in England after post-Brexit trading terms were finalised.

Peugeot parent company PSA bought Opel, which trades as Vauxhall in Britain, in 2017, and said in 2019 that future investment in the northern English Ellesmere Port plant would depend on the final terms of Britain’s exit from the EU.

On Christmas Eve, London and Brussels sealed a deal to secure tariffless trade for the industry, dependent on local content levels.

“We call upon PSA to look at a longer term plan to build electrified vehicles at both Luton and Ellesmere Port with future regulatory and legislative changes in mind,” said Unite national officer for automotive industries Des Quinn.

“At Ellesmere Port, it is also now time for our members to be rewarded for their ongoing commitment and having met all cost requirements to be awarded new product – currently, it is the only plant in Europe not to have been.”

Shareholders on Monday approved the creation of the world’s fourth largest automaker as part of a $52 billion merger between Fiat Chrysler and PSA.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas in London; editing by William James)




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Saudi offers extra oil output cut as part of OPEC+ deal: Sources


Saudi Arabia has offered to make voluntary cuts in its oil output in February in a bid to persuade fellow OPEC+ producers to hold steady amid concerns that new coronavirus lockdowns will hit demand.

Two OPEC sources said Saudi Arabia made the offer on Tuesday at a meeting of OPEC+, which combines OPEC producers and others including Russia, after failed talks on Monday.

It was not clear how much Saudi Arabia offered to cut on its own.

OPEC+ sources told Reuters that Russia and Kazakhstan were pushing for the group to raise production by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) while Iraq, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates suggested holding output steady.

An internal OPEC+ document, seen by Reuters on Tuesday and dated Jan. 4, set out several scenarios for 2021, including the possibility of cutting by 500,000 bpd in February.

It highlighted bearish risks and “stressed that the reimplementation of COVID-19 containment measures across continents, including full lockdowns, are dampening the oil demand rebound in 2021”.

Three OPEC+ sources said chances of a collective cut were slim as very few producers supported it and most countries favoured either steady supply or an increase in February.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman on Monday said OPEC+ should be cautious, despite a generally optimistic market environment, as demand for fuel remained fragile and variants of the coronavirus were unpredictable.

New variants of the coronavirus first reported in Britain and South Africa have since been found in countries across the world.

OPEC+ producers have been curbing output to support prices and reduce oversupply since January 2017.

As COVID-19 hammered demand for gasoline and aviation fuel, benchmark Brent oil futures plunged below $16 a barrel last April, forcing OPEC+ to boost its output cuts to a record 9.7 million bpd in mid-2020.

With Brent holding above $50 per barrel, OPEC+ took the opportunity to raise output by 500,000 bpd in January, putting its current cuts at 7.2 million bpd.

Brent was trading up nearly 4% at above $53 per barrel at 1626 GMT.



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How will the Republicans deal with Donald Trump once he’s left office? The Georgia run-off elections could give us a clue


You wouldn’t have known Donald Trump lost the US election looking at this week’s rally.

He lost the popular vote by more than 7 million. He came up 38 votes short of the 270 needed to win the electoral college.

But as the President prepared to take the stage at a rally in northern Georgia, the song We Are The Champions blasted through the loudspeakers.

The crowd chanted “fight for Trump” and “stop the steal”.

A woman wearing a Trump mask at a rally.(ABC News: Emily Olson)

And less than a minute after taking the podium, Mr Trump turned what was supposed to be a “get out the vote” speech into a criticism of the US election system.

“They’re not taking this White House. We’re going to fight like hell.”

Trump added more personal pressure to his ‘rigged election’ narrative

Mr Trump spent the next 80 minutes warning that Democrats would “destroy the country”, while also suggesting that members of his own party were complicit in overlooking “rampant fraud”.

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The President bashed Georgia’s Governor and Secretary of State for certifying the vote there, saying they weren’t true Republicans and would struggle to be re-elected.

He criticised the US Supreme Court for denying him legal standing in a fraud case.

He thanked the senators who had come forward to say they would object to the certification of electoral college votes in Congress two days from now — a highly symbolic move that legal experts say won’t stop Joe Biden from being named President.

Mr Trump also put pressure on his Vice-President, Mike Pence, to intervene, though Mr Pence’s role in the electoral college process, as outlined in the US Constitution, is limited to reading the result.

Vice President Mike Pence waves as he walks off the stage
Trump said he won’t be happy if Mike Pence “doesn’t come through” for him.(AP: Lynne Sladky)

The rhetoric overall was in line with the “rigged election” narrative Mr Trump has been pushing since the US started shifting its voting methods in the face of coronavirus.

But the timing of the rally itself ties Mr Trump’s words to a critical new test: the Georgia Senate run-off elections.

The Georgia Senate races are the most high-stakes of a generation first and foremost because they will decide which party controls the upper chamber of Congress.

If the two Democratic candidates win, it’d mean wide legislative freedom for Joe Biden during his first two years in office, before the next congressional election.

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If the Republicans lose, the party might be forced to rethink their strategy, which looks very much like the strategy that lost them Georgia in the general election: following the President’s lead in revving up his base, rather than trying to build bridges to the moderate Republicans.

Two consecutive losses of such a magnitude will force the party to reconsider what it needs to win elections going forward.

The party’s loyalty to Mr Trump is on the line.

There’s a growing rift between Republicans over what to do with Trump’s fraud claims

Just in the two months since the election, some of Mr Trump’s most loyal allies have begun splitting with the President in small but notable ways.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has acknowledged Joe Biden’s presidential win, though he’s stopped short of condemning election fraud.

He also led the Senate in sticking with $US600 ($778) stimulus checks as part of a recent COVID-19 relief bill, siding with the Republicans’ pre-Trump brand of fiscal conservatism over the President’s populism.

A crowd of people sit in front of a sign saying Kelly Georgia conservative.
Supporters listen as Trump addresses a campaign rally in Georgia.(ABC News: Emily Olson)

Republicans voted overwhelmingly to override a presidential veto on a defence bill that’s popular with military families who’ve long leaned Republican.

And Mr Trump’s hand-picked Attorney-General, William Barr, publicly said the Justice Department doesn’t believe the election should be overturned because of fraud.

Granted, there’s still some members of the party who are willing to bet that taking up Mr Trump’s battles will gain them the support they need to win future elections.

The two senators leading efforts to object to the electoral college vote are Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley — two men whose 2024 presidential ambitions are an open secret.

And then, of course, there’s the whole mess of Georgia.

Georgia’s Senate races are still toss-ups

It’s tough to get a read on which candidates are leading in the race, which is atypical in every way.

We’ve got two simultaneous run-offs of high stakes, held during a pandemic, two months after an election with the biggest voter turnout in US history, in a state that flipped from Mr Trump to Mr Biden.

Polling for run-off races isn’t as reliable as general election polling, but the numbers show a toss-up.

Fundraising for both candidates has broken records — collectively amounting to more than $US500 million, making them among the most expensive Senate races in history.

Early voting turn-out, too, has smashed the standards, drawing over 39 per cent of the state’s registered voters.

“But this time around, we’re seeing presidential-level early voter turnout, especially in key Democratic counties. Some Republican counties are significantly behind where they were for early voting in November.”

But the Republican Party is not stepping back from the strategy.

The candidates on the right, senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, have consistently picked Mr Trump’s side over the rest of the party’s, even if it meant condemning Georgia’s election system as unfair as they ask people to vote for them.

Both senators announced they would object to the electoral college vote on Wednesday (local time).

A woman wearing a make america great again beanie and puffer jacket smiles.
The Georgia Senate run-offs are the most important in a generation.(ABC News: Emily Olson)

But the biggest wager may be asking Mr Trump to speak on election eve.

The party knew full well that he’d come out swinging on the “rigged election” lines, especially after a recording of a call revealed that Mr Trump pressured Georgia’s top election official to change the general election results.

Will voters turn out for an election they don’t believe is fair?

Notably, the party chose Whitfield County for the site of the rally.

The Republican-leaning region, which voted for Mr Trump by a 44-point margin in 2016, saw high early voting turnout in the general election, but is trailing the state average by about eight points now.

A woman with grey hair and wearing a sweater smiles with people behind her.
Elena Merino will still vote in the Georgia Senate election despite the President’s claims of election fraud.(ABC News: Emily Olson)

Rally attendees like Elena Merino said there was nothing risky about asking Mr Trump to speak so close to the election day.

She said the Republicans she knows are coming out to vote because, even though they believe the election was stolen, voting is the only course of action they have left.

“I’ve done everything else I can do. What other choice do I have?” Ms Merino said.

Mr Trump, too, framed voting as the best recourse against a rigged election.

“We’ve got to swamp them.”

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

Play Video. Duration: 4 minutes 24 seconds

Leaked audio reveals Mr Trump pushing Georgia officials to “find” more votes.

If the Republicans lose control over the Georgia Senate because of low turnout, we’ll never know for sure whether it was because Mr Trump’s voter fraud narrative led some to stay home out of fear or frustration.

But we also won’t be able to rule that out.

The Republican Party will have to move forward believing, at least a little, that Mr Trump’s power has become a liability in a President Biden era.

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