mgk Podcast: Workers facing $28,000 fine, jail for industrial action
Saturday July 29th 2006, 2:38 pm

John Howard’s WorkChoices has criminalised collective bargaining and union representation. Union busting is now not just strictly legal in Australia but has a goal of turning honest workers who want a safe and fair workplace into prison inmates- or forcing them and their families into bankruptcy. Worse, John Howard’s secret industrial relations police force has a $96 million war chest to help put them there.

Mal Peters speaks at the Cricks (image: mgk:MachineGunKeyboard)Mal Peters is a construction worker from WA. When the site steward and safety officer was unfairly sacked from Mal’s jobsite, it was tools down and out on the grass.

Now John Howard’s Building Industry Commission ‘Star Chamber’ wants to fine Mal and 106 other construction workers up to $28,700 or put them in jail for 6 months for alleged violation of WorkChoices laws.

Mal Peters is touring Australia, speaking about his experience with WorkChoices. Peters and Andrew Ferguson, General Secretary of the NSW branch of the CFMEU, appeared last Tuesday, 25 July 2006, at the Cricketers Arms Hotel at Surrey Hills, Sydney, as part of the Cricks Lecture Series podcasts carried on Fourth Estate Radio.

An excerpt of that talk is downloadable from mgk (Podcast: MP3, 10Mb, 21:08). You can listen to the entire talk this coming Sunday, 29 July 2006 on Fourth Estate Radio.

Andrew Ferguson of the NSW CFMEU (image: mgk:Machine Gun Keyboard)Most frightening in WorkChoices is the removal of common civil liberties from labor law. If workers are approached by investigators from John Howard’s secret labor police squad, the Building Industry Commission (BIC), they may not even refuse to give evidence for any reason, including avoidance of self-incrimination. Failing to give evidence to the BIC sets up the worker for a $6,600 fine. BIC investigators have been tailing Mal Peters on his Australian speaking tour, asking if union meetings were held on company time, on company premises without permission and so on.

These removals of basic human rights are in direct defiance of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Howard seeks nothing short of a return to the days of the Master and Servant Act.

Beazley has to do better than merely dispose of AWAs. The whole of WorkChoices must be repealed for Labor to get my vote.


3 Comments so far
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Brilliant work weez and Jon.

Andrew’s story of the most recent building site death involving a father carrying his crushed son had me in tears…
HoWARd et al’s WorkChoices package will no doubt create much more hurt, pain and work-related accidents and even deaths.

Comment by suki 07.29.06 @ 3:50 pm

Thanks, Suki. There may be more podcasts in future from mgk & Fourth Estate Radio.

There’s simply no reasonability to the Orwellianly named ‘WorkChoices’ garbage. The industrial relations reforms of the last 150 years were accomplished for a number of reasons, not the least of which that industry had a bad habit of killing workers.

I always thought Howard was pining for the 1950s, not the 1850s.

Comment by weez 07.29.06 @ 4:17 pm

[…] Social Justice “Work Choices” legislation was an attack on the living standards, job security and sanity of the working class. In particular it now really sucks to be unskilled or pro-union. […]

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