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Issue No. 284 07 October 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

Age of Consent
After more than five years of debating, cajoling and at times pleading, NSW workers have secured a set of cyber work rights worth celebrating.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Under Fire
Michael Crosby outlines his agenda to save the movement – and explains why Australians have nothing to fear from the SEIU.

Politics: And the Winners Are ...
Wal King, Allan Moss, Roger Corbett, Chip Goodyear, Michael Chaney and David Murray have lots in common, writes Jim Marr.

Industrial: Un-Australian
Labour lawyer Clive Thompson argues the changes to IR are fundamentally at odds with the national tradition of consesensus.

Economics: The Common Wealth
As the policy wonks debate the future of our cities, Neale Towart mounts a simple argument: It’s the real people in a society, stupid

History: Walking for Justice
The Eight Hour Day, a very Australian celebration, had its origins in New Zealand it seems, writes Neale Towart.

International: Deja Vu
A group of trade unions have walked away from America's peak council, again. Labourstart's Eric Lee was there.

Legal: The Rights Stuff
Terror laws have sparked a fresh debate on a Bill of Rights - and workers have a bigger stake than ever before, writes Rachael Osman-Chin.

Review: That Cinderella Fella
Russell trades the phone for mitts in an inspiring cinematic slug-fest. Nathan Brown is ringside

Poetry: Is Howard Kidding?
Mel Cheal asks who Howard thinks he is kidding to the tune of the ‘Dad’s Army’ theme song.

N E W S

 Secret Policemen's Balls-Up

 Centrelink Breaches Cyber Law

 Examiner Pulps Cadet

 Food Truck Flattens Woman

 Will They Know It's Christmas?

 Death By Nestle

 Taskforce On Safety Charges

 Archbishop Preaches End Of Civilisation

 Union Drives Tassie Train

 PM Cold on Lunch Date

 Seafarers Scupper Sell Off

 Fraser Terror-fied

 Tribute to HT Lee

 Activist's What's On!

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
No Place For A Woman!
Doreen Borrow spoke to the Public Service Association’s women’s conference in September about her experiences of working life that span seven decades.

Postcard
North By Northwest
Phil Doyle returns from up north, where he survived on nothing but goodwill, good people and a great big orange bus.

The Locker Room
Disaster
In which Whatsisname slams the recent poor form of Thingummyjig.

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West MLC, gets all casual in his latest missive from the Bear Pit.

L E T T E R S
 Rat’s Army
 Kev's Confusion
 Make Ads Not Law
 Nice One, Workers!
 Dog Eat Dog
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Food Truck Flattens Woman


A Melbourne food truck company sacked an injured woman then snaffled her final week's wages to pay its own insurance premiums.

Tamika Curran told Workers Online her employer had also hit her with a $400 bill to meet the excess on accidental damage done to the “unroadworthy” vehicle.

Curran, who was being paid $13.45 an hour to service industrial sites in Melbourne's western suburbs, said it was "ridiculous" that the federal government was trying to strip away rights from people in her predicament.

"The conditions I had been working under were awful, but I needed and I liked the work," said Curran, who drove a food van from 6.30am till 2pm, covering 200kms in a day.

"In a day we were expected to pick up the vans from a yard, which took roughly 10 minutes, but we were not paid for it, and take them back to the yard after we finished work, which we were also not paid for."

She said drivers were told by management to "put our foot down if we are late". On one occasion, she was expected to be in Port Melbourne at 11.15, serve food, which takes approximately 10 minutes, and then be on the other side of the city at Flemington Racecourse by 11.30.

The damage to the van occurred when the serving door caught on a pole and needed replacing. Curran was charged the $400 insurance excess and continued the day's work in another truck. Another employee experienced a very similar incident and also had to pay the $400 excess.

After the accident Curran was left in neck pain to the point of tears, getting severe migraines, which was diagnosed by one doctor as whiplash.

After another accident, last week, the food van company, who are withholding her final pay packet, dismissed Curran without warning.

Curran said she enjoyed the work but wouldn't lie down and let her former employer walk all over her. She will take her case to the Victorian employment advocacy organisation, Job Watch.

"Because I loved the job I took what was dished out," she said. "I should have stood up for myself because I knew what was wrong at the time."

Curran is urging all workers to speak up if they think things are wrong.


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