Against Grocon

I reproduce some reports in support of the CFMEU. I rarely read the capitalist press, except for a few days recently. I was aghast at the massive lies against the CFMEU and pro-Daniel Grollo and his inherited $800 million Grocon in the Australian and the Australian Financial Review.

CFMEU: In case you have not read this, Grocon is trying to smash workers rights.
• The right to wear union stickers and clothing
• The right to have real safety and union reps
• The right to talk to your union organiser without interference
• The right to put up a union poster in the lunch shed
For too long Grocon has denied workers these freedoms. To enforce his rules on an unhappy workforce, Daniel Grollo employs a team of management heavies led by a former nightclub bouncer.
The CFMEU has never accepted this bullying and intimidation. We thought we had solved the problem in April when Daniel Grollo shook hands with CFMEU leaders on a deal. This would have guaranteed workers on Grocon sites the same rights as all other construction workers.
Sadly, Grollo welshed on this deal leading to the current impasse.
If Grocon gets away with its bullying and intimidation, workers on their sites will be under the thumb and be driven like slaves. Other builders will try to follow suit.
Read more here:

Here is an update: a good analysis from Sue Bolton.

Here are some of my comments. “I wrote this some years ago about the Building and Construction laws. Using Orwell illustrates how the corporate rich and capitalist media and politicians classify legitimate union action here the CFMEU as “unlawful”, such as defending in the Grocon struggle what should be a worker’s right to elect OHS representatives, the right to have union badges, the right of workers to have entry by union officials, the right to strike against an employer who is in breach etc

‘One use of ˜doublethink is to label justifiable union organising which is not unlawful, or to be more specific, which is lawful, to be deemed by political opponents as ˜inappropriate. Legislative changes are pushed (here by PM Howard and maintained by Rudd/Gillard ) which transforms that which is ˜inappropriate into that which is ˜unlawful”.

Through the interplay of ˜unlawful” and “inappropriate” the vice of doublethink is played out. That which is lawful is unlawful. Or at other times the interplay of “permissible and not permissible” and applies to ˜protected/unprotected” action and so on applied to all legitimate industrial action.
So I hope this gives some understanding. Howard/Abbott made CFMEU union action “unlawful”. And note that Gillard keeps Howard’s anti-union laws

So now the employer Grocon can bring in the police.

And so this union action is condemned by Labor Minister Shorten.

But these bad anti-union labour laws have to be broken.

See earlier post

Here is article on the media.

When in any reasonable IR system the police play no role, in Victoria the Police state is trying to enforce rich corporate boss Grocon’s anti-unionism – the struggle escalates.
Up to 1,000 cops – including riot squad, critical incident response group and mounted police – were mobilised this morning to break a construction union picket line in the CBD. They failed. The picket has been running for 10 days, ostensibly over the right of workers to choose their own site representatives.

Victoria police Commander Rick Nugent said officers were brought to help: “It’s about the workers. So we want to safely assist them.
We were concerned for the safety of our people and the safety of the employees… The clear objective for us was to take control of the work site and enable the employees to safely go about their work.”

No one in the real world was convinced by Nugent’s words.

The company reported that 30 workers were assisted into the site by the police. It is rubbish. Those entering the site were suits from management and a couple of their stooges. The massive show of state force was a failure – not because the hundreds of gathered unionists fought the police back, as they had done on Tuesday – but because no scab was game enough to face their fellow workers on the line today.

There is power in a union!

A good analysis here
Australia: Police attack picketing building workers
By Terry Cook and Mike Head
29 August 2012
In what business leaders have declared a “major test” of industrial relations, more than 200 police in riot gear were dispatched on Tuesday in a bid to break a construction workers’ picket line outside a large building project in Melbourne. Police horses were used against picketing workers and capsicum spray was fired at them, before workers pushed the police contingent back.
Several hundred workers from other construction sites had downed tools and rushed to the Grocon company’s Myer-Colonial First site after being alerted that police were mustering to escort management personnel and other workers through the picket line.
The police violence sparked solidarity meetings on Grocon and other major construction sites in Sydney and Brisbane, where hundreds of workers from the Abigroup Children’s Hospital project marched through the city yesterday. In the face of this anger, building industry trade union leaders have threatened to call a state-wide strike in Victoria if police try to break the Melbourne picket line again.Read the whole article here

Here is ACTU statement on a worker’s right of representation.
“The fundamental issue at Grocon is that management is refusing to allow workers from having a say about who represents them on health and safety and other issues in the workplace,” Ms Kearney said.

“This sort of blacklisting and bans on things like stickers and posters in the workplace does not belong in Australia and is a breach of the rights to freedom of association.”

Here is FWA President Ross’s recommendation for cooling off, rejected by Grocon
30 AUGUST 2012
“1. To provide an environment more conducive to prOductive discussions in respect of the dispute between the parties I recommend that the parties agree to a 14 day cooling off
period (ending midnight Thursday 13 September 2012). The parties are to take the following steps to bring the cooling off period into effect:
(i) I recommend that, without prejudice to any of its rights and noting that it denies any wrongdoing, the CFMEU not organise or encourage or procure any industrial action [except for action based on a reasonable concern about an imminent risk to
health or safety; s.19(2) Fair Work Act 2009] at or picketing of any Grocon site.
• (ii) I recommend that, without prejudice to any of their rights and subject to the cessation of any action which impedes work proceeding normally on all of their sites, the Grocon companies until midnight Thursday 13 September 2012:
• adjourn any application they have made in Victorian Supreme Court proceeding No.SCI 2012/4743 and in any other proceeding or matter in any other court or tribunal relating to this dispute;
• take no further step in any such proceeding or matter; and
• not initiate any new proceeding or matter in any court or tribunal relating to this dispute.
2. The cooling off period will come into effect upon each party agreeing to take the steps set out at paragraph I (i) and (ii).
3. During the cooling off period the parties must participate in discussions to resolve the
matters in dispute. The Tribunal is available to chair such discussions at any time. The parties will advise the Tribunal of their availability to participate in such discussions by
12 noon Friday 14 September 2012.
4. The parties agree to take steps to ensure that no worker, company or union representative is subject to any intimidation.
5. This recommendation is not intended to damage the legal rights of any party. In the event that an alleged breach or issue arises in relation to the matters set out above the parties
agree to immediately notify the Tribunal and an urgent conference will be convened to deal with the matter.
Justice Ross

“A good showing by CFMEU members with strong contingents from ETU & AMWU at the Grocon picket line in Melbourne today. But the scabs & the cops didn’t make an appearance today so everyone went back to their jobs. The unions are expecting that the police & the govt will mobilise to break the picket line tomorrow or Friday morning. A big turnout is needed from 5am on at the Lonsdale St Grocon site.

The union signed an EBA with Grocon but Grocon has broken key parts of the agreement such as having union reps & safety reps who aren’t appointed by the boss.

Other issues are the right to wear union stickers and union clothing and be allowed to put up union posters on the job.

Grocon employs thugs to threaten workers who wear union clothing or who put union stickers on their hard hats. This is an important dispute. If Grollo wins, other bosses will use the same tricks. If the union wins, other bosses will think twice.

It’s great to see the solidarity from workers on other building sites. Grocon sites in other states were also jacked up today.

Day 10: Update from Sue Bolton

Day 10 of the Grocon picket line. After talks broke down between the union and the company last night, people expected trouble from the cops. At about 2am, lots of busloads of cops started arriving. Hundreds of cops totally surrounded the Grocon site, with more cops stationed in shopping centre basements ready to attack. But then the scabs didn’t get on the scab buses, so all that money spent on all those police, and the government didn’t do anything.

The picket will be maintained by a crew through the weekend and on the RDO next Monday. However, large numbers of people will be needed next Tuesday when people expect another big attack on the picket line.

People are assuming that this dispute may be a long one.

Baillieu & Grollo appear to have decided to take on the union, with the assistance of their media. Tell all your friends to show their support for construction workers by joining the picket line on the corner of Lonsdale St & Swanston St next Tuesday.


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