||Issue No. 226||25 June 2004|
Interview: The New Democrat
Bad Boss: The Ugly Australian
Unions: Free Spirits and Slaves
Industrial: National Focus
History: A Class Act
International: Across the Ditch
Economics: Home Truths
Review: No Time Like Tomorrow
Poetry: Silent Note
The Locker Room
Hadgkiss Sinks Boot into Safety
The Building Industry Task Force boss told Workers Online his organisation would appeal an injunction that restrains Multiplex from handing him the financial records of a dozen Melbourne building workers.
At first Hadgkiss refused to comment on the decision handed down by Justice Heerey in the Federal Court at Melbourne, last week.
Eventually, he agreed to "come up with a form of words".
"The judge has found that it is arguable that the notice is invalid and, therefore, the Task Force will take steps to have that argument fully heard as soon as possible," he said.
Hadgkiss would not, however, be drawn on CFMEU claims that he was trying to "outlaw" longstanding and agreed safety procedures.
CFMEU official, Jesse Maddison, said the order to produce had been served on Multiplex as part of a Task Force campaign against "safety audits and safety rectification measures" that took place when workers were killed.
The standard procedure in Melbourne, Maddison said, was for a management-union committee to audit death sites. Workers would be paid while the audit and agreed work was undertaken.
"The Task Force sees that process as a form of industrial action and says, therefore, it is unlawful to pay the workers, or for workers to receive payments," Maddison said.
"In this instance, Multiplex we understand, paid workers and the Task Force came back with a notice to produce the personal banking details of 12 employees.
"They are pretty sensitive details and our guys don't want them handed out."
Maddison said it was "outrageous" the Task Force was attempting to have "agreed industry procedure aimed at preventing further deaths declared illegal".
Workers Online asked Hadgkiss three times if the Task Force had "targeted safety procedures" but was unable to get a clear answer.
His responses, in chronological order, were ...
"It depends on the circumstances."
"We do not comment on operational matters," and "read my report of March 24 and you will see more of it there."
Hadgkiss' report to the Federal Government contained a series of non-specific allegations against building workers that were not supported by names, dates or even the states in which they were alleged to have occurred.
Meanwhile, the Australian Democrats have agreed to join the Howard Government in delivering the Task Force increased coercive powers, including the ability to gaol workers who refuse to answer questions about industrial disputes.
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