|Issue No 93||27 April 2001|
Women Casuals Victimised by Abbott
Hundreds of thousands of women workers could be denied access to maternity leave after the Howard Government opposed an historic test case on casual employment.
At a full bench hearing of the ACTU's Parental Leave case in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, the Federal Government was alone in opposing the automatic granting of maternity leave to long-term casual employees.
"Even though all the employer and union groups have agreed, the Howard Government opposes extending these benefits to all eligible employees. This is fundamental discrimination against casual workers, most of them women," ACTU President Sharan Burrow said.
"This is ideology gone mad. Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott says he supports giving maternity leave to casuals, but he is opposing this application proceeding as a test case," Ms Burrow said.
"People should not have to fear for their jobs just because they have a family, regardless of whether they're casual or permanent employees. By opposing this case, Mr Abbott has placed himself in the absurd position of trying to stop something he says he supports," Ms Burrow said.
If successful, the ACTU application would give unpaid maternity leave rights to all casual workers who have 12 months regular and systematic employment with the same employer.
Under the Federal Government's workplace laws casual workers are specifically excluded from accessing maternity leave despite the fact that 60 per cent of casuals have worked for the same employer for more than a year.
The ACTU application has the support of State Governments and major employer associations including the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Australian Hotels Association and the Australian Industry Group.
The Commission is expected to deliver its decision on the application next month.
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Interview: The Workers� Voice
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In the face of unprecedented pressure, BHP workers in the Pilbara are standing together and refusing to sign individual cotnracts.
Economics: Currency Unification: Dollarize or Die?
Dick Bryan asks what happens to an economy when it gives up its domestic currency.
History: Instant History
In his address to the Australian Labour History Conference, the SMH's Brad Norington asks whether there is still time for history.
International: The End of an Era?
The post-Cold War era is over. Something different is developing to take its place. John Passant writes.
Media: The Battle for Aunty
The CPSU's Graeme Thompson ouitlines the campaign to save the ABC and this week's emergency share-holders' meeting.
Review: Share-Holder Nation
A legacy of government-backed privatisations, demutualisations and stockmarket hype over the past decade is the creation of a nation of shareholders.
Satire: SOS: Save the Investment Banker!
Spare a thought for those less fortunate With redundancies at investment banks around the globe looming, now is the time for us to show the world just how much we care. It's just not right.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005