||Issue No. 291||25 November 2005|
Interview: Public Defender
Legal: Craig's Story
Unions: Wrong Way, Go Back
Politics: Queue Jumping
History: Iron Heel
Economics: Waging War
International: Under Pressure
Poetry: Billy Negotiates An AWA
Review: A Pertinent Proposition
The Locker Room
Name and Shame
Unite and Fight
The Worker's Best Friend
Stop the Corporate Rot
Senators Back Rorters' Charter
Their actions will cost Japanese woman, Sachie Murata, and thousands like her, any chance of justice.
Murata has given days of harrowing evidence, to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission, in support of her claim that she was threatened with deportation if she didn't sign an AWA that robbed her of award entitlements.
Under vigorous cross examination, she maintained she didn't even know she had been employed under an AWA until informed by her solicitor, 18 months after the document was secretly rubber stamped by the Office of the Employment Advocate.
Murata's unfair contracts claim will simply die, with nowhere to go, if a tame Senate green lights "Workchoices".
There is no provision under "Workchoices" for unfair contracts actions, and it will strip the vast majority of Australians of anywhere to contest unfair sackings.
Howard hasn't even made provision for people like Murata, who have spent thousands of dollars getting their cases before Commissions, to get an outcome.
"They will simply die, it's as though they never happened," industrial lawyer Adam Searle, confirmed.
Searle has been running a pay equity case on behalf of NSW childcare workers that will also evaporate into Howard's black hole.
That case opened long before the Prime Minister admitted the extent of his workplace revamp.
"We have finished all the evidence and are due to present oral submissions from December 6," Searle said. "Under the new law, the case disappears, there is nowhere to pursue it.
"Childcare workers are poorly paid with little bargaining power. Under Workchoices they will be left with no choices at all."
Workers Online has learned that at least one employer law firm is already writing to petitioners suggesting that they abandon their cases.
Some embarrassed Coalition Senators were claiming, last week, that they hadn't realised they would be slamming the door on cases, some years old, that were already underway.
However, at least four separate submissions to their lightening-speed inquiry warned that would be the consequences of their actions.
Senators received submissions to that effect from the Electrical Trades Union, the NSW Law Society and Sydney barrister, Shane Prince, who also furnished them with a supplementary submission.
The final lie was given to their pleadings by evidence from Department of Employment and Workplace Relations deputy secretary, Finn Pratt, who told the Senate Inquiry that was both the effect and intent of the Workchoices.
"There is no accrued right to have part-heard arbitration claims determined on the basis of pre-existing legislation," Pratt told Senators who were listening, on November 14. "I understand that the government will ensure there is no doubt surrounding this issue."
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