||Issue No. 231||30 July 2004|
Interview: Power and the Passion
Unions: Tackling the Heavy Hitters
Industrial: Seeing the Forest For The Wood
Housing: Home Truths
International: Boycott Busters
Economics: Ideology and Free Trade
History: Long Shadow of a Forgotten Man
Review: Chewing the Fat
Poetry: Dear John
The Locker Room
Tom On Alienation
Task Force in Hiding
The Task Force is keeping its Melbourne address secret from the AMWU and four members it is seeking around $100,000 in fines against as the result of a four-hour picket, last year.
Frustrated industrial officer, Maurice Addison, described the Task Force as the "ASIO of industrial relations".
"They demanded a ridiculous amount of information and when we attempted to defend ourselves with injunctions and related exhibits they refused, point blank, to reveal an address.
"They told us any material had to be faxed," Addison said.
"The discovery orders were an unwarranted intrusion into the privacy of people who try and look after their workmates. They are out to finger any activist in Melbourne and try to shut them down."
Amongst other things, The Task Force sought the names of all AMWU officials; all their pay and taxation records; the names of every delegate who attended a Melbourne seminar last year; all documents associated with that seminar; and the names of rank and file delegates and safety reps.
After the orders were criticised by a Federal Court judge the Task Force agreed to amend them.
The next day it handed redrafted demands to state secretary, Dave Oliver, and after the union returned to court that "fishing expedition", also, was aborted.
Now charges under the Workplace Relations Act have been laid against the union and individual members Ali Mulipole, Fergal Eiffe, Ian Collins and Steve Mansour.
They arise from attempts, last July, to have a steelfixer pay industry rates at two inner-city construction sites.
The Task Force, established to hunt down corruption and thuggery, alleges the union, and its members, engaged in "coercion".
"There was a four-hour picket, that was it," Addison insists. "That's what this whole issue is about. We notified a bargaining period, under the act, and nobody was threatened.
"This is the federal government's secret enforcement agency, once again, interfering in the normal cut and thrust of industrial relations on behalf of the employer."
Anti-worker law firm, Freehills, will act on behalf of the Task Force in matters set down for a Federal Court directions hearing on September 3
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