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The Guardian 28 January, 2009

ABC Learning
receiver and employment contracts


ABC staff in the 55 centres that closed on New Year’s Eve who are transferring to another ABC centre will not have a change of employer nor be required to do a three-month probationary period.

When a childcare worker in WA received a Letter of Offer stating she would be subjected to a three-month probationary period after her transfer from one ABC centre to another, the LHMU’s Childcare Union issued a statement to the media that this was unacceptable.

The worker was also asked to sign a document agreeing to a change of employer, despite being a straightforward transfer between ABC Learning centres. It appeared that ABC was trying to circumvent industrial relations laws by being able to fire workers without notice during the three-month probationary period.

Once the story hit the media, the receiver for ABC Learning — McGrath Nicol — issued a letter to staff apologising for the error and instructing them to ignore the Letter of Offer.

"I would confirm ... that your existing employment with the company continued upon your transfer to your new centre," the letter said. "You are not being asked to change employer. Nor are any new probationary periods being imposed. I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for any confusion and concern that the incorrect letter may have caused you."

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