NO COMFORT FOR TWO LOYAL MOTEL WORKERS
By BELINDA SCOTT
LAST weekend Corrina Sheleen and Kay Campbell believed they were valued employees with secure jobs with Coffs Harbour's Country Comfort Motel.
This weekend they are out of work and they believe they have lost their jobs unfairly.
Casual worker Mrs Sheleen, who worked regular shifts at the motel doing a variety of jobs, said she was sacked without warning on Monday by the new owners, who took over the motel on June 16.
Mrs Campbell was a full-time housekeeping employee until Thursday, when she was told she would be made casual because things were quiet.
But halfway through what would have been a 7.6-hour shift on Thursday, she was asked to go.
She said yesterday she had not heard from the motel management since and was very upset by the way she had been treated after many years of hard work.
Mrs Sheleen and Mrs Campbell, both in their 40s, have worked for 10 and 15 years at the motel.
Mrs Sheleen had been a permanent full-time worker until last year, when she elected to become casual so she could combine work with her university nursing studies.
Mrs Campbell was a permanent full-time employee who has been the main breadwinner for her family
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since her husband was one of many retrenched Telstra employees in 1999. In order to readjust, the family went into debt to buy a small lawnmowing business.
Both women say they have worked under two different hotel management companies with no problems while at the Country Comfort Motel.
Mrs Sheleen has contacted both State and Federal industrial relations bodies and they have told her there's nothing they can do about her job, because under the new industrial relations laws, which exempt companies with less than 100 employees from unfair dismissal laws, the women have no redress except to take their former employer to court.
"We're the face of the new IR laws," said Corrina, a formerly loyal National Party voter who deserted Mr Hartsuyker at the last election.
The new owner of the motel, Basil Berrigan, said the women could believe what they liked and if they wanted to take it further he was also prepared to do so through the normal channels, but he had no other comment to make to the newspaper.
His father, Tom Berrigan, who is also involved with the running of the motel, said all the staff's employment had been terminated by the previous owners, all their entitlements had been paid up by that company, and staff were on trial, as was normal for a business under new ownership.
He said they were going through a settling-in period and he would not comment further.