Emplyee's win over Australia Post
FORMER postie Greg Cartaar from Ballina has won a landmark case in the Industrial Court of NSW that may change the way employers draw up worker’s contracts in the future.
The court awarded Mr Cartaar $72,450 on Friday after determining he was underpaid by Australia Post over a three-year period while he was contracted to deliver parcels.
“This is a huge win for me,” said an elated Mr Cartaar, “and a huge win for the little guy.
“Honestly I feel like Darryl Kerrigan in The Castle. My son said we should frame the piece of paper and hang it in the pool room.”
Mr Cartaar took over the contract to deliver parcels for Australia Post in the Ballina area in 2002.
It was a non-negotiable contract.
“I trusted that Australia Post, being the iconic company that it is, would be doing things the right way,” Mr Cartaar said.
“Instead of making a mockery of the industrial laws, and believing they were above them, they should have been setting the standards.”
It wasn’t long before Mr Cartaar found he was working much longer hours than specified on his contract to complete the run.
Justice Kavanagh determined had Mr Cartaar been an employee of Australia Post he should have earned $130,240 over the three years instead of the $66,790 he had been paid.
“Once I realised there were problems I tried to negotiate a fairer deal. Australia Post ‘relogged’ it but I still didn’t think it was fair,” Mr Cartaar said.
According to Mr Cartaar’s lawyers, Turner Freeman, the ruling has significant implications for Australia Post and many companies which are heavily engaged in contract labour.
“The major implication is the way this will affect companies that try to use these very one-sided contracts with workers,” Sina Mostafavi, a lawyer with Turner Freeman, said.
“It will cause employers to rethink the way these contracts are arranged – particularly for contractors who are, for all intents and purposes, employees.”
A spokesman for Australia Post said it was too early to comment and that Australia Post was currently considering the decision.
Mr Cartaar was just happy to leave it to the lawyers at this stage.
“All I’ve ever asked for is a fair deal – to be treated just like anybody else,” Mr Cartaar said.
“If you knew what my family and I have been through over the past four years you’d realise this is a huge relief.”