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Issue #1587      March 27, 2013

Recall Records workers maintain tactics and defiance

On March 21, the picket by workers, fellow unionists and community activists at Recall Records in Malaga, Western Australia, ground slowly into its forth week.

The eight workers at Recall Records, starting to feel the absence of their regular income, and with the intransigence of their employers not giving them much cause for an appropriate resolution of the dispute, decided to present themselves for work on Monday 25 March. They are cautious that their employer will allow them to return to work and have expressed a belief they may be locked out until the dispute is resolved by arbitration as the matter has now had its first hearing before the Fair Work Commission in Sydney on March 18.

The Federal Court injunction against the National Union of Workers and the Maritime Union of Australia had a further hearing on March 15 without any significant progress or developments and was adjourned further, possibly to await developments elsewhere including the Fair Work Commission.

The workers are adamant of the rightness of their case as there can be no argument that the employer cannot afford to pay the extra three percent over three years which the workers are seeking. The employer has deliberately let the dispute carry on for so long and make the company lose money and they have paid for surveillance and security not only at the Malaga warehouse of Recall Records but also at their warehouses at Kewdale and other locations within the Perth metropolitan area.

For the financial year ending June 2012, Brambles Limited, the global services giant which owns Recall Records, announced a 16 percent increase in operating profit of US$939 million. This indicates that the company has another agenda in deciding to delay resolution of the conflict and offering such a mediocre increase to their Western Australian workers in Malaga. If the eight employees at the Malaga warehouse were to be successful in gaining the 12 percent over three years which they are seeking (instead of the nine percent being offered by Recall Records) there would be a flow on to the Recall Records workers at other warehouses in Perth. This has ensured that the workers have given their support in a number of ways to the workers at the Malaga warehouse including helping to add to the numbers on the picket.

The dispute in essence comes down to one of union busting – in this case the Nation Union Of Workers who have stood by their members at the picket and let the democratic will of the members guide them in the actions they taken.

The Communist Party of Australia stands by and defends the actions and rights of these workers for fair pay and conditions and against the coercion and unfair tactics of their multinational exploitative employer.

NB: As The Guardian went to press the workers were back at work with a further meeting set down for Thursday.   

Next article – A community rises up against the corporate powers

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