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Issue #1783      June 28, 2017

Condemnation of anti-union push

CFMEU National Day of Action – Perth

On Tuesday June 20, a National Day of Action was called by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union against the Australian Building and Construction Commission and the introduction of the 2016 Code for the Construction industry that will further erode wages and conditions. Speakers at the rallies called for the protection of workers’ wages and conditions including the right to take industrial action to protect those rights.

Across all states union members turned out in capital cities. Around 20,000 people heard Victorian State CFMEU secretary John Setka give a forceful condemnation of the ethical and moral standards of the inspectors of the federal construction watchdog.

In Perth, the rally marched to the office of federal Employment Minister Michaelia Cash.

There was what can only be described as an overbearing police presence ostensibly to preserve law and order, yet when more than 30 police were in attendance on foot, bicycle and mounted on horseback and the mounted police did not keep their distance from protesters but insisted on having the horses so close they were able to breath down protesters’ necks.

While Senator Cash was in Canberra telling federal Parliament how the comments by Setka were to be referred to both Federal and Victorian police she made sure her confrontational and antagonistic stance towards the organised working class in WA would be on public display in her absence.

Will Tracey, national deputy secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, stated that unions will continue to fight for the rights of workers and for community safety, including protesting the construction of unsafe buildings, a reference to London’s Grenfell Tower and to Perth’s Children’s Hospital which underwent a number of safety scandals during its construction.

WA state secretary of the CFMEU, Mick Buchan, wrapped things up by saying his union and several other unions present at the rally would continue to fight for local content for the construction and manufacturing of building projects and to create jobs for future Australians through apprenticeships with Australian companies.

Buchan highlighted how many jobs could have been provided for Australian workers if the bridge over the Swan River to the new football stadium had been built here – a net benefit to Australia as the wages would have been paid to Australian workers.

Buchan proposed a motion to the rally calling for the rally to “condemn the Turnbull government’s attacks on workers and their wages and conditions.” He has also previously condemned the appeal by the ABCC of the decision of the Federal Court over the Perth Airport Terminal workers which resulted in their fines being increased tenfold for protesting the non- payment of their wages by a shonky contractor.

The Communist Party of Australia supports the call by the union movement to condemn the Turnbull’s government’s one-sided attack on corruption and rorts in the construction industry. It opposes all attempts to weaken the organised working class which protects workers’ wages, conditions, workplace safety and the safety of the community in which workers and their families live.

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