|Issue No 105||03 August 2001|
Legal Win for Wharfie Widows
Widows of Australian waterside workers killed by exposure to asbestos will benefit after a breakthrough settlement for 11 women in Melbourne.
The settlement recognises the economic value of the work their husbands did at home.
Previously a widow's claim was not viable if her husband died over the age of 65 or earlier, unless he was working at the time of diagnosis. This was because compensation for dependents under Victorian law was in part based on their earnings at the time.
Eleven women - one in Canada, one in Queensland and nine in Melbourne sued the federal government body Stevedoring Industry Finance Committee, James Hardie and CSR.
The defendants settled the cases late yesterday on confidential terms.
Lawyer Suzanne Sandford of Slater and Gordon says the decision is a breakthrough for hundreds of women who have suffered hardship since their husbands died, as long as 20 years in some cases.
"Until these cases, the courts and the defendants had not recognised the substantial contribution that non working men make at home - mowing lawns, home maintenance, driving, painting, gardening," she said.
"Since their husbands' deaths, many of the widows have seen their houses fall into disrepair because they cannot manage them alone, or because they are under financial strain having to pay others to do the work their husbands previously did.
"This contribution was substantial. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, men over 65 spend an average of 19.5 hours per week on domestic services.
"Now the widows of waterside workers whose lives were tragically shortened by dangerous workplace conditions - in particular their exposure to asbestos - will not suffer further hardship after prematurely losing their husbands."
Interview: Whose Advocate?
Employment Advocate Jonathon Hamberger argues the case for his organisation's survival and reveals his secret union past.
Politics: CHOGM: What Should Unions Do?
Activists Peter Murphy and Vince Caughley kick off the debate about what is the appropriate action ot take when CHOGM leaders meet in Brisbane
E-Change: 2.1 - The Changing Corporate Landscape
In the second part of their series on the impact of new technology, Peter Lewis and Michael Gadiel try to understand the new corporate playing field.
Jim Marr reports that the Employment Advocate has been handed a chance to salvage some credibility by cleaning up anti-union practices in the call centre industry.
Economics: Privatisation: The Dangerous Road
Frank Stilwell argues that the corporate collapses of HIH and One Tel are potent reminders of the downside of ‘people’s capitalism’.
History: Hard-Earned Lessons
Art Shostack looks at the legacy of the landmark strike by PATCO air traffic controllers 20 years ago.
International: Political Prisoner
Greenpeace campaigner Nic Clyde, facing up to six years gaol in the United States for taking part in a non-violent protest, speaks exclusively with workers Online.
Review: Seven Pubs and Seven Nights
Labor Council's newest recruit, Susan Sheather, shows she respects tradition by going in search of the perfect bar
Satire: Obituary: Mr Rob Cartwright - Captain of Industry
In all fields of endeavour, there are those who command our respect through their sheer commitment to excellence. One such titan was Rob Cartwright, whose chosen field, the obscure HR discipline of "moving people onto individual contracts" lost its greatest practitioner and champion late last night, following a tragic self-inflicted accident.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005