||Issue No. 175||24 April 2003|
Interview: Picking Up The Peaces
Unions: The Royal Con
National Focus: Around the Grounds
Economics: The Secret War on Trade
International: United Front
History: Confessions of a Badge Collector
Politics: Stalin’s Legacy
Review: Such Was Not Ned’s Life
Poetry: Osama's Top Recruiter
Satire: Woolworths CEO Denied Bonus After Company Posts Profit
The Locker Room
Success Breeds Contempt
Join the Dots
Another Cole Man Bites The Dust
A Court has found that Troy Stratti, Sam Stratti and their company Stratti Ocean Earthworks failed to deliver on promises made to a husband and wife operation, Lefty’s Excavator & Drott Hire, then reneged on payments for work completed.
"The evidence showed that Mr and Mrs Metharis' concern about, and distrust of, the respondents, flowed from their failure to pay the applicant what was owed to it for work performed, either on time or at all," Justice Schmidt found in an IRC Court Session.
"It was not suprising that these diffculties should have given rise to a suspicion on their part, as to the respondents' motives and conduct, in relation to other aspects of the parties' relationship."
Tony Abbott's Building Industry Royal Commissioner, Terence Cole, on the other hand, chose to accept the anti-union evidence advanced by Troy Stratti in the face of vigorous denials.
Stratti is the third significant NSW witness to have had his credibility undermined since presenting evidence to the Cole Commission.
Barbara and Stephen Strong earned days of media coverage for allegations that CFMEU officials had threatened Mrs Strong, her children and solicited unethical payments. When Counsel Assisting the Commission were prevailed apon to actually check phone records and police interviews on which the Strong testimony swung, they found no evidence to support the allegations.
In fact, both sets of records supported union testimony that the alleged events had never occurred.
Much of the two-week second Sydney hearings dealt with allegations stemming from sworn statements of star commission witness, Craig Bates. However, a range of employers testified that Bates, himself, had accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of corrupt payments and contested a union election, against the individuals he was accussing in the Commission, with the active and financial support of employers and at least one underworld figure.
The Stratti finding comes one week after Workers Online revealed that dozens, and possibly hundreds, of Cole Commission findings had been undermined by a Perth Court.
Cole had based a number of "unlawful" findings against the CFMEU Western Australia branch and its officials on Right of Entry technicalities. However, Magistrate Paul Heaney found the police wrong in law when dismissing charges of trespass, escaping, and resisting charges against assistant state secretary, Joe McDonald, and organiser Graham Pallott.
He was scathing about the charges, ruling the unionists had been wrongly arrested by police with no training in industrial law.
WA branch secretary, Kevin Reynolds, hailed the magistrate's decision as a "smack in the face for Cole".
"It has been our contention for the last 10 years that we have been unlawfully prevented going about our business. It's something Cole tried to reinforce but this case has vindicated our position," Reynolds said.
In the Sydney case, the Metharis' were claiming more than $200,000 in damages. Justice Schmidt instructed lawyers for the parties to confer on final orders that would reflect her judgement.
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