Clear message to bullies

UNFAIR: A truckie was sacked after he took his daughter to the doctors.
UNFAIR: A truckie was sacked after he took his daughter to the doctors. Contributed

THERE are plenty of bad bosses out there in the transport industry but not many as bad as the one who sacked a TWU member because he had to take his baby girl to the specialist.

That's right. He sacked him.

Michael Vella, a hardworking young truckie from Penrith in Western Sydney, said his boss denied him carer's leave to take his 10-week-old daughter to a specialist.

He said when his boss couldn't force him to attend work, he sacked him amid a tirade of insults and abuse.

"There were many specialist appointments - I was only needed at one," he said.

"It was one appointment at 1pm in the arvo. I shouldn't have been sacked for it."

The TWU has a zero-tolerance approach to employers who engage in this type of behaviour, and anyone who watched A Current Affair last week would have enjoyed seeing justice catch up with Michael's former boss, Matthew Atkins.

This case was a classic example of a bully employer abusing his power.

What he did was in direct contravention of the Fair Work Act, even before including the abuse and stress caused to Mr Vella and his family.

But Mr Atkins picked the wrong target and the courts are now teaching him a very expensive lesson; never try to bully a TWU member.

Using our expert legal team, we took Mr Atkins to the Federal Circuit Court where a judge ordered he pay out $8000 in unpaid wages to Michael.

On top of this we're also seeking tens of thousands in penalties and damages which the judge will determine in the weeks ahead.

The case also sends a clear message to other deadbeat bosses out there - the TWU will not sit by if our members are being mistreated, bullied, threatened or intimidated.

We'll take the fight all the way to the top.

If you are experiencing bullying or harassment, or if you don't think you're getting a fair deal, speak to a TWU delegate or visit

Topics:  twu news wayne forno

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