TERANG students campaigning for the ability to work short shifts after school yesterday presented a petition with more than 1500 names to the office of Federal Workplace Relations Minister, Julia Gillard.
The petition was presented yesterday by Matthew Spencer and Leticia Harrison, two of the six students who were laid off from their weekday shifts earlier this year by the Terang Co-op hardware store because they could not work the minimum three- hour shift imposed by a new retail industry award.
They lost much of their after-school work because they could only work an hour-and-a-half between the end of the school day and the store's weekday closure, leaving them only with occasional weekend work.
The 1500 signatures supporting a review of the award were collected in Terang, Warrnambool and Hamilton and Mr Spencer said the students were heartened by the support they had received.
Mr Spencer and Ms Harrison were accompanied on their trip to Ms Gillard's electorate office in Werribee by their employer, Charlie Dunyhoven from the Terang Coop, and the Liberal candidate for Wannon, Daniel Tehan, who has helped the case grab national attention.
The students have been interviewed by media from throughout Australia with their situation cited as an example of how the new award threatens after-school work for all students.
Mr Tehan said the petition was handed to one of Ms Gillard's advisors who gave no commitment about whether Ms Gillard would respond to it.
The students and Mr Dunyhoven are more hopeful that a hearing before Fair Work Australia on May 5-6 will yield more positive results for them.
Mr Tehan said both the National Retailers Association and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry had applied to Fair Work Australia to amend the retail industry award to allow flexibility in shift times to suit business needs.
The students have also provided sworn statements to Fair Work Australia on how the minimum shift requirement had an adverse impact on their employment.
Those wanting to show your support for the students' cause or get involved email firstname.lastname@example.org
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