Archive for 'CFMEU'
It was disappointing to see Jack Waterford repeat the tired Tory tropes about the CFMEU’s ‘manipulation’ of safety issues as a justification for an ICAC in the ACT. (‘Clearly the ACT needs its own ICAC’ Forum page 1 The Canberra Times Saturday 1 August.) While the ACT does need its own ICAC, deaths and serious injuries on building sites across the Territory show in fact that what we need to save lives is a safety regime run by the unions, the only people with an overriding interest in building workers’ health and safety. The Royal Commission witch-hunt into the CFMEU is designed to destroy them precisely because the union does win better wages and campaign for safety. Jack has fallen for the bosses’ lies.
This is part of a letter I sent on Sunday to the Canberra Times on the arrest and charging of building union organiser John Lomax. ‘Unionists and union leaders should be very very worried about this attempted criminalisation of industrial activity. If successful it will undermine every union in Australia. The charges against Lomax are an attack on unionism.’
The arrest of ACT CFMEU official John Lomax for trying to negotiate better pay and conditions for workers is an absolute disgrace, according to CFMEU National Construction Secretary Dave Noonan.
Mr Lomax was told by police that he was accused of forcing an employer to enter into an EBA and that as a result the employer suffered financial loss due to paying workers higher wages. Mr Noonan said that the government was criminalising the work of unions. “The criminal jurisdiction is not the domain of industrial matters and this is nothing but another vicious political attack on unions and the right to defend and improve pay and conditions for working people.”
This is a report from the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Engineering Union page. It shows that unions can stand up for all workers, including those on 457 visas. Unions can win proper wages and conditions for 457 visa workers and in doing that also help stop the bosses undermining others workers’ pay and conditions. Great work from the CFMEU.
Why the difference in the treatment of the death of Phillip Hughes and that of building workers? In a word, profit. Safety on building sites threatens the bosses’ profit. Cricket on the other hand, as a business, reinforces the profit system, and makes its protagonists well known and loved. Let’s fight for a world in which everyone is safe at work. That means at its most basic more power to our unions, not less.
Our industrial dispute with Grocon has always been about safety. When we fight to protect the safety of building workers and the public, Liberal politicians call for our deregistration. Yet when Grocon pleads guilty to its role in the deaths of three young people, the same politicians are silent. Tony Abbott embraces Daniel Grollo as a member of his Government’s Business Advisory Council.
This is just some of the ‘evidence’ Abbott used to justify his recently announced police taskforce witch hunt into the building union, the CFMEU. It would be laughable if it weren’t so serious.
We can force the government and Fair Work on to the back foot today if one of the few unions that really fights for its members were to lead strikes against the bosses’ attempts to destroy workers through its Budget and through Fair Work action against workers who have gone on strike. A call to strike to bust the budget and defend striking unionists could inspire workers across Australia. Light the fire. Stop work to stop the bosses’ Budget. Stop work to defeat the attacks on building workers.
Paid trade union officials are the retailers of our labour power to the bosses and what Abbott wants to do through this Royal Commission is cut out the middle men and women, the union officials, and allow the bosses to completely dominate atomised workers and thus drive down wages and slash conditions, cut jobs, and lengthen the working day, among other things.
Briggs identified the real problem when she said that profit cannot come before safety on building sites any more. However proft does come first, and will continue to come before safety. That is what the ABCC is about. It is what smashing union industrial campaigns for safety on site are about.
Can we cull the business sharks who kill building workers? The best way to ensure there is safety on building sites is to give the workers power to cut off the flow of profits to the bosses, without loss of pay, when sites are unsafe, or for workers to take that power.