The ACTU has announced it will launch one of the biggest test cases in recent years by applying to Fair Work Australia to establish a new, fairer safety net for apprentices. It maintains that apprentice wages need to be urgently lifted to give young people a pathway to a secure job and to ensure Australia continues to have a skilled workforce.

ACTU President Ged Kearney said low wages and an inability to afford basic living costs were a major reason why about half of people who begin an apprenticeship drop out before they complete their training.

She said the wage structure had failed to keep pace with changes to the workforce and economy over the past two decades, with almost a quarter of apprentices now aged 25 or older, and almost 90 per cent of all workers in apprentice training are aged 18 or older.

The Australian Industry Group has  released a supplementary submission to the Fair Work Act Review in response to the unions' proposed changes to the Act.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has released  new trainee wage calculators to help employers determine the rates of pay for trainees.

Recent research by the University of Sydney has found that many trade apprentices are living on a wage that falls below the poverty line, with many wages barely higher than the unemployment benefit.

Westpac has announced it will shed up to 126 jobs from its Australian operations, with the Financial Services Union  (FSU) claiming the bank plans to offshore the 119 technology roles and 7 collection roles.

Consult Australia has released results of a landmark benchmarking study into gender diversity within the engineering workforce, marking a critical first step by industry towards proactively overcoming the issue.

In September 2011, there were 11.6 million people employed in Australia. Of these people, 786,800 wanted to work more hours and were available, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The average number of extra hours preferred per week was 14.1 hours. 

The Productivity Commission has released its Default Superannuation Funds in Modern Awards inquiry issues paper, which intends to assist the public in preparing a submission to the Commission.

The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Amendment Bill 2012 has been introduced into Parliament.

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