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Issue #1734      June 8, 2016

Put the Liberals last

WA CFMEU Federal Election Campaign Launch

PERTH: One month out from the election, the active and militant Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union launched its Federal Election Campaign at its headquarters in the old Trades Hall in Perth.

Senator Sue Lines speaking at the launch.

The CFMEU is one union that has incurred the ideological wrath of the ruling class and the party representing its interests led by PM Malcolm Turnbull.

The proceedings were chaired by Unions WA secretary Meredith Hammat, and commenced with an introduction from CFMEU state secretary Mick Buchan.

Buchan addressed the hundreds who filled the room, spilling out into adjacent corridors about a recent decision by Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC). The decision saw the WA Branch of the CFMEU fined $21,225 for picketing a construction site where employers had failed to pay wages and other entitlements, including superannuation for months.

The picketing, Buchan said, resulted in the employers coughing up over $380,000 in unpaid wages. During the struggle some workers had already sold their cars, suffered relationship breakdowns and other personal difficulties from the months of going without pay. The dispute at a construction site at the Perth Airport involved a number of companies and contractors. One even declared himself bankrupt to avoid paying the debts and the very next day set up another company under a different name.

Buchan was rightfully furious that the FWBC hadn’t directed its efforts at going after the fraudulent practices of some of these construction companies, instead choosing to go after the CFMEU.

In essence the action by the FWBC against the CFMEU exposes the fundamental class nature of industrial relations and the need for strong unions and the rights won over many years of struggle.

ALP Senator Sue Lines then followed highlighting the momentum that is building on the side of the working class to unify and defend their rights from the ongoing anti-worker attacks by the Abbott/Turnbull Liberal governments. Lines spoke of the legislative attacks by the Liberal government, attacks led by the WA Senator, Employment Minister Michaelia Cash against a number of unions including the CPSU/PSU (Border Protection workers) and TWU-member truck drivers who saw the government abolish the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

Lines joined Buchan in saying these attacks demonstrated that unions and their members, supporters and the community needed to unite in working to defeat the Turnbull government.

Here it should be noted that it has been the Greens during the current government who have been instrumental in taking a stand against a number of reactionary measures aimed at workers’ rights.

The Communist Party of Australia campaigns for the defeat of the Turnbull Liberal government at the July 2 election and recommends putting the Liberals last.

Next article – In the class struggle for life

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