||Issue No. 248||26 November 2004|
Interview: The Reich Stuff
Economics: Crime and Punishment
Environment: Beyond The Wedge
International: The End Of The Lucky Country
Safety: Tests Fail Tests
Politics: Labo(u)r Day
Human Rights: Arabian Lights
History: Labour's Titan
Review: Foxy Fiasco
Poetry: Then I Saw The Light
The Locker Room
Pee Pole Shame
Latham Is A Scapegoat
Bathurst Three Face Court
The women will be represented by the USU in an Administrative Review, normally the preserve of corporate high flyers.
The family day care operators are seeking judgements that Bathurst exploited them through "harsh and unconscionable" contracts.
USU official, Greg McLean, said the review was the only avenue available to women who had been removed from IR processes by being classified as independent contractors.
"Their businesses have been closed by the council without any explanation. Under existing regulations, they aren't even entitled to ask why," McLean said.
"The Carr Government has just changed that situation in NSW because the Premier understood there was no natural justice available to battlers who perform an important social service. Unfortunately, the Bathurst women have been caught under the terms of the old regime."
The Administrative Review Tribunal is an expensive jurisdiction, not least because it can level costs against unsuccessful litigants but, McLean says, the cases are of "fundamental importance".
The USU, led by organiser Julie Griffiths, has run a long campaign to have governments extends rights to operators of family day care centres.
It began after the federal government successfully challenged an award for the sector in 1995, leaving people who cared for toddlers in their homes devoid of any rights or avenues of appeal.
The position was reinforced when Dubbo Council refused point-blank to justify closing a local centre. It claimed to have been defrauded out of an amount of less than $3 after a worker inaccurately completed a time sheet.
The union organised workers and used its political and industrial contacts to convince the NSW Government workers needed an appeal mechanism when authorities removed their rights to operate.
McLean said Carr needed little convincing and pin-pointed the NSW model as one that should be taken up around the country.
"The situation that still exists in other states is ridiculous," he says. "It flies in the faces of any concept of a fair go."
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