||Issue No. 284||07 October 2005|
Age of Consent
Interview: Under Fire
Politics: And the Winners Are ...
Economics: The Common Wealth
History: Walking for Justice
International: Deja Vu
Legal: The Rights Stuff
Review: That Cinderella Fella
Poetry: Is Howard Kidding?
The Locker Room
Make Ads Not Law
Nice One, Workers!
Dog Eat Dog
Food Truck Flattens Woman
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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