||Issue No. 216||16 April 2004|
Joining the Dots
Interview: Terror Australis
Unions: Graeme Beard's Second Dig
Industrial: The Hell of Troy
Organising: Miners Strike Gold
Economics: The Accepted Wisdom
History: Vicious Old Lady
International: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Review: War Unfogged
The Locker Room
Tomís A Furphy
Rolling in Clover
More War And Peace
Mum Burned By "Barbecue Stopper"
Last ditch appeals to intervene at the IRC on Therese Martinís behalf were brushed by Government representatives, although Canberra had intervened in recent hearings on behalf of employers.
Martin, the mother of three children aged eight to 13, told Workers Online she would be forced onto a pension if the Commission didn't strike out Salmat's move to make her work night shifts at its Wagga Wagga call centre.
"I want to work but my children are my first priority," she said. "We live 15km out of town and I am not prepared to leave them at home by themselves at night.
"As a mother, I think it is important to be there for my kids and to supervise them. They are good kids but anything can happen if you are not there for them."
Martin began work at Salmat after the company agreed to her request for 3.15pm finishes. When hours across the centre were moved back, she agreed to start later and finish at 3.45 but, just before Easter, she was told she would have to go onto rosters finishing as late as 9pm.
Martin said she had only accepted the job in the first place because Salmat specifically advertised its "family friendly" credentials, and called for applications from women who wanted part part-time work.
A union delegate with the USU, she says she was called into the manager's office and told "poor performance" was behind the forced change in hours.
The following day she received a certificate for "excellence in customer service" signed by her supervisor.
The USU appealed for Government intervention, through the office of Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrew.
"The Prime Minister says balancing work and family is the biggest ongoing social debate of our time and a real barbecue stopper," USU executive president Michael Want said.
"We gave him the chance to put his money where his mouth was and do something positive to help a single mother trying to balance her responsibilities and, so far, nothing.
"The government has intervened on behalf of employers and this a real chance to support a working mother whose hours and days were agreed when she commenced employment."
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