||Issue No. 197||26 September 2003|
Coming to the Party
Interview: Crowded Lives
Activists: Life With Brian
Industrial: National Focus
Unions: If These Walls Could Talk
Economics: Beating the Bastards
Media: Three Corners
History: The Brisbane Line
Trade: The Dumping Problem
Review: Frankie's Way
The Locker Room
A Sick War
Workers Denied Home Loans
Under a groundbreaking proposal being pursued by the NSW/ACT Independent Education Union a number of Aides in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese could finally win permanent status.
The IEU says hundreds of the Integrative Aides Australia-wide have been robbed of the "basic dignity" of job security because their positions rely on government funding being maintained for the special needs children they care for from year to year.
One example of many is the plight of Debbie Micallef who is now struggling to get from work and back after her car blew up. After more than nine years on the job Micallef can't get a bank loan to buy a new one because she lacks security of employment.
"Living year by year has meant many are unable to qualify for home loans and other services from financial institutions that require proof of stable employment," IEU state secretary Dick Shearman says.
Shearman said this could all change if the Independent Education Union is successful in its bid to have the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese introduce a marginal percentage of permanency to the Aides' positions.
The Independent Education Union is requesting the Diocese make the Aides' positions 60% permanent in cases where the support staff work regular numbers of hours in long-term positions.
Shearman said the figure is enough to make a difference to the Aides' loan prospects but not so much that the Diocese will be left to foot the bill if the funding is reduced.
"Even if funding is reduced it would be unlikely to be cut by more than 60% over the course of any year," he says.
"There is no good reason why Integrative Aides that have been on temporary contracts for three years or more could not have their employment status changed to more accurately reflect the ongoing nature of their work."
"Some of these Aides have been on temporary contracts in excess of 10 years, yet they have no access to the basic dignity of job security that so many of us take for granted."
"These loyal workers should no longer be denied access to home loans, personal loans, and other vital financial services because of a technicality with their employment classification."
The IEU has previously been successful in a bid to have formally recognised the ongoing employment of a group of teachers of English as a Second Language, enabling many to access previously unavailable financial services.
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