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  Issue No 87 Official Organ of LaborNet 10 March 2001  

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News

New Precedent for Workers with Print Disabilities

By Sondra Wibberley

A new enterprise bargaining agreement struck at Macquarie University and certified by the AIRC provides a first for workers with a print disability.

Tucked away in the document is a significant clause which will benefit this small but important section of the University's workforce. It also has the potential to benefit similar employees in other workplaces.

The CPSU/PSA was successful in negotiating a clause allowing for the Agreement to be made available to staff members via the Internet or in printed form or "for a staff member who has a print disability, in a form suitable to their needs."

According to the Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities, a person has a print disability if they cannot independently obtain access to information in a standard print form. This could be because they are blind or vision impaired, have physical disability limiting their ability to hold or manipulate information in print form, or they have a perceptual disability leading to difficulty in following a line of print.

In practical terms the provision means a staff member who has an identified print disability may request a copy of the Agreement in a format which takes their disability into account. This may take the form of braille, large print, accessible electronic form, or audio tape.

Containing this provision in a certified Agreement also means that if the request is refused the University can be taken to the AIRC. The staff member could also make a complaint under NSW or Commonwealth Anti-Discrimination laws.

As well as assisting staff at Macquarie University, the provision will act as a precedent for advocating for a similar entitlement in other workplaces

The inclusion of this provision is believed to be a first in an industrial agreement in Australia.

The persistence of a University delegate with a severe vision impairment, who served as a member of the Union's Bargaining Team, and the strong support of the CPSU/PSA lead to the positive result.

The outcome highlights the importance of workers with disabilities becoming involved in the activities of their union.

This win should encourage other employees with vision or other disabilities to request employment-related information in a format which accommodates their disability, a provision which is now an industrial right.


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*   Issue 87 contents

In this issue
Features
*  Interview: Working Woman
Cheryl Kernot on women in the workplace, Labor's male culture and where Meg went wrong.
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*  Activists: Honouring Our Heroes
Anna Stewart changed the lives of Australian working families by helping women achieve balance between the competing demands of work and family.
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*  Women: The Future is Female
Julia Gillard outlines the campaign to increase female representation within the Australian Labor Party.
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*  Unions: Sweatshops Ė Beyond 2001
FairWear convenor Debbie Carstens looks over a unique partnership between churches and unions to end exploitation in the textile industry.
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*  Politics: The Battle for Bennelong
Many trade unionists are working to kick John Howard out of office. But only one woman has a chance of kicking him out of his own seat. Meet Nicole Campbell.
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*  International: Border Skirmishes
Alana Kerr travelled to Thailand to observe first hand the battle to organise Burmese women workers in exile.
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*  History: Inside the Ladies Lounge
The McDonald sisters run Trades Hall, and have for over half a century. The building canít speak about what has gone on in that time, but Lorna and Elaine probably know it all.
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*  Satire: Taliban to Put One Nation Last
The Parliamentary fate of Pauline Hansonís One Nation party was further obscured today as key fellow right-wing extremists moved to distance themselves from the controversial Queensland politician and the group she founded and leads.
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*  Review: Seven Steps to Slavation
Jenny Macklin details the seven barriers that stand between women and a better working life.
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News
»  Sweat Stains the Great Aussie Cossie
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»  Chinks Emerge in Carrís Call Centre Stonewall
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»  Telstra Called on Part-Time Work
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»  ACTU Pushes for Reasonable Hours
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»  Ruddock Faces Legal Action Over Working Visas
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»  National Textiles Revisited: More Workers Dumped
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»  New on the Menu: Home Delivery AWAs
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»  Pay Equity Case Up And Running
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»  Child Care OH&S 'a Time Bomb'
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»  New Precedent for Workers with Print Disabilities
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»  Australian Shippers Promote Slavery
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»  Ambos Tried Without a Jury
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»  Unions Cautious Over New Insurance Deal
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»  Fears Over Future of Unfair Contracts
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»  APESMA Launches Professional Womenís Network Directory
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»  Womenís Gateway Launched
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»  EMILY's List Raises Flag for Women Candidates
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»  Web Pioneer Goes Global
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»  Public Education Day on March 15
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»  Activists Notebook
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Columns
»  The Soapbox
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»  The Locker Room
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»  Trades Hall
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»  Tool Shed
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Letters to the editor
»  Viva La Shane!
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»  Still the Same
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»  Sydney Council Tip of Iceberg
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»  New Battle Grounds
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»  Patricks Footnote
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»  The Ripple Effect
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