||Issue No. 132||19 April 2002|
Interview: Generation Next
Legal: We’re All Terrorists Now
Unions: Holding the Baby
International: Taking It To The Streets
History: Off the Wall
Economics: Financing International Development
Satire: Queen Mum's Life Tragically Cut Short
Review: Return of The People’s Parliament
Poetry: Silent Night
The Locker Room
Week in Review
Where's the Silver Tail?
Tobacco Giant's New Smoking Gun
Less than a week after being lacerated by a High Court judge for its corporate behaviour, the NSW Labor Council is demanding WorkCover action against the cigarette manufacturer.
Teresa Loyzaga, single mother of two young boys, insists she was sacked after complaining about smoking in a workplace contracted to call centre operator, Adecco.
"I don't like smoking but they told us when we started it was a smoking workplace and, at first, I accepted that," she told Workers Online. "I just wanted to be moved from the small enclosed room, which was full of smoke, to a desk in the outside corridor where it wasn't so bad.
"The smoke was aggravating my throat and chest. Eventually, I had to go to a specialist in Randwick and he sent a letter to the company saying I should be moved for my health.
"But they have a policy of drawing seating positions from a hat every three months and I kept drawing a desk in the enclosed area.
"I had smoker friends willing to give up their seats so I could work in the corridor but management wouldn't allow it."
Loyzaga said that after tendering the ENT specialist's letter, she got her marching orders.
"My jaw dropped, I said 'hey I'm a single Mum, you can't just fire me on the spot - what about my kids?"
That plea, she reported, won her a one week reprieve. Adecco told her they had looked for alternative jobs and, apart from a one-day placement, had nothing available.
Loyzaga, an immigrant from the Phillipines, hadn't been in the country long enough to qualify for any Centrelink support. By the time she started training as a bank teller, this week, she had run through the family's savings.
She has lodged an unfair dismissal claim and filed separate Occupational Health and Safety complaints through Labor Council and the ASU.
Labor Council OH&S specialist, Mary Yaager, is seeking a WorkCover investigation of the Pagewood call centre that employs around 100 workers.
FOOTNOTE: Adecco Group Asia Pacific chief executive officer Ray Roe said Loyzaga had been offered and refused five alternate positions in non-smoking call centres elsewhere in Sydney.
He said the British American Tobacco call centre in Pagewood was a known smoking environment.
``We ask the people who want to work there to sign a waiver acknowledging they know it is a smoking environment,'' Roe said.
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