Daily News Roundup

April 9, 2018

Monday April 9

Vue de monde restaurant staff overworked and underpaid

Former staff at one of Melbourne’s most exclusive restaurants, Vue de monde, say they worked up to 30 hours of unpaid overtime each week, leaving their pay packets short by hundreds of dollars.

The Vue Group denies the allegations, saying staff are “at times rostered to do reasonable overtime”.

ABC Radio Melbourne has spoken to six staff members who worked at Vue Group’s flagship restaurant, and the now-closed Cafe Vue on St Kilda Road, between 2009 and this year.

They say they were regularly required to work more than 50 hours a week for 38 or 40 hours’ pay — a claim supported by rosters, timesheets, payslips and an email from management to staff seen by the ABC.

In a statement to the ABC, Vue Group said the claims were “absolutely incorrect”.

A former chef at the now-closed Cafe Vue on St Kilda Road, Alex, said he would often work up to 80 hours a week for 40 hours’ pay.

He said he was underpaid by around $500 a week.

‘Karen’, who did not want to use her real name, recently resigned from Vue de monde.

She said excessive unpaid overtime was expected of current staff and she was no longer able to cope with working long hours for no extra pay.

“When we were very short-staffed, people were working upwards of 70 hours [a week],” she told ABC Radio Melbourne’s Rafael Epstein.

Vue de monde recently adopted a new electronic system where staff recorded their start and finish times with their fingerprints, Karen said.

Over a two-week period, she logged 24 hours of overtime — yet her weekly pay packet never changed, she said.

“They think it is OK because at the end of the day the customers don’t have complaints,” Karen said.

“But it doesn’t work for us because we’re exhausted.”


Malcolm Turnbull’s 30th Newspoll loss might not prove fatal, but leadership tension is apparent

Tearing down a leader and installing a new one is brutal.

“It leaves blood and bodies everywhere,” is the description from one Labor figure who has been tangled up in plenty of leadership struggles.

The death and gore is metaphorical but the emotional damage is palpable.

Careers are destroyed, friendships are shattered, and in many cases, trust is never restored.

It was too nasty for a man with decades of experience at the heart of the union movement.

Former Labor minister Greg Combet wrote that he was “fed up with the disloyalty and the disunity within the Labor caucus, the sheer ruthless bastardry” when he walked away from politics after the Rudd/Gillard turmoil.

Yet dumping a leader is being discussed again as Malcolm Turnbull crashes into his own Newspoll benchmark.

According to today’s Newspoll results published by The Australian, the Labor Party trumped the Coalition with a two-party preferred vote of 52-48.

The only number that is being counted so far is 30, the total of consecutive Newspoll losses.

But the war-gaming and strategic leaking that is an essential element of the build-up to a leadership challenge is happening.

It could fizzle out, or more likely flare up sporadically, intensifying if 30 Newspoll losses turns to 35 or higher and Liberal MPs fear the trend means they are heading for joblessness.

It is that desperation that drives otherwise cagey politicians to embark on the ferocious leadership contests that voters bitterly resent.


Flu vaccine 2018: Do you need it and when should you get it?

It’s nearly time to roll up your sleeve, brace yourself for a small prick, and hope the nurse or doctor offers you a lollypop for your troubles.

The annual flu vaccine will soon roll out across general practices, pharmacies, community health clinics and some workplaces and schools.

In some pharmacies, the flu vaccine is already on offer. But the Australian Medical Association (AMA) hasurged people to hold off on getting this year’s vaccine, warning some pharmacies are offering vaccinations too early.

“We are concerned when pharmacies are out there advertising early flu shots at a time that might not be clinically appropriate,” AMA national president Michael Gannon told ABC News.

“People who are vaccinated too early in autumn might have lost protection by late in the spring when the virus has mutated.”

So, when is the right time to get your flu shot? And is it necessary for everyone?

The Australian Government recommends everyone from six months old wishing to protect themselves against the flu should get immunised.

Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect yourself from flu; people who get vaccinated are at lower risk of getting an infection (and developing serious disease) than those who do not.

Bastian Seidel, President of Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), said it’s important for people to get vaccinated whether they are healthy or at high risk.

Getting a flu shot also means you help to protect other people, including those who are too sick or too young to be vaccinated, as well as vulnerable groups such as babies, people over 65 years and pregnant women.

The more people who are vaccinated in the community, the less likely the flu will spread.

The best time to get the flu jab can be difficult to predict because the peak period of flu activity varies year by year, said Professor Raina MacIntyre from the University of New South Wales.

“Generally, the peak flu season is around July and August, but it’s variable — sometimes it can start in May, and sometimes the peak happens in September,” Professor MacIntyre said.

This is important because research shows the effectiveness of the flu vaccine may begin to wane after three to four months.

“It’s a trade-off really, between getting the ideal immunity [early on] and not missing the peak of flu activity,” Professor MacIntyre said.

According to the Department of Health, the government-funded seasonal flu vaccines will be available nationally from mid-April.

This matches recommendations from both the AMA and RACGP, who say the best time to get the flu shot is towards the end of April and into the beginning the May.

“This should really cover the vast majority of Australians,” RACGP president Dr Bastian Seidel said.

AMA president Dr Michael Gannon agreed, and said healthy people should get vaccinated at the same time as those eligible for a free vaccination.

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