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Issue #1562      29 August 2012

Solidarity statement

Standing with CFMEU Melbourne workers

“The CPA applauds the courage of building workers in Melbourne in standing up for the right to have union safety officials on building sites. We stand in solidarity with the workers and the CFMEU in this struggle,” Dr Hannah Middleton, CPA General Secretary said.

At its peak about 500 construction workers were at the Grocon site on the corner of Swanston and Lonsdale Streets in Melbourne’s CBD on Tuesday morning, facing off against police in riot gear and on horseback.

There are concerns about safety and the workers want to control the appointment of safety stewards on the construction site. Quite reasonably, they want their own OH&S people they can trust on site.

The construction giant Grocon got orders last week that prohibited CFMEU organisers going within 50 metres of the site and returned to the Supreme Court last Friday to try to get contempt orders against union officials and members who, the company argued, had breached the orders.

The union has taken action at sites in Brisbane and Melbourne, including setting up a blockade since Wednesday of last week of the $1.3 billion Grocon development site.

The CFMEU has accused Grocon CEO, Daniel Grollo, of trying to de-unionise the company’s sites.

“Grocon is using the court system to try to smash the union and the workers,” Hannah Middleton said.

“Not surprisingly, Daniel Grollo is furious that the workers are fighting back. He has been spluttering about illegal blockades, intimidation, defiance of the Victorian Supreme Court and police.

“And in a shameful statement, Federal Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten has backed this position, condemning ‘violence’ and ‘illegal blockades’.

“But when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty,” she said.  

Next article – Workers unpaid, terminated

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