||Issue No. 288||04 November 2005|
Interview: Public Defender
Legal: Craig's Story
Unions: Wrong Way, Go Back
Politics: Queue Jumping
History: Iron Heel
Economics: Waging War
International: Under Pressure
Poetry: Billy Negotiates An AWA
Review: A Pertinent Proposition
The Locker Room
Truth in Advertising
What a Woman!
It's Not Pretty
D-Day For Political Rights
With ACTU secretary Greg Combet warning a trade unionist would be Australia's next political prisoners, 100,000 CFMEU members plan to stare down $22,000 fines for attending the national action.
Any prosecution of CFMEU members attending the rally would spark a legal show down, with Combet adamant that unionists would not be paying politically motivated fines.
Under specific laws that are designed to target the construction industry, building workers specifically face fines of $22,000 for attending meeting without their employer's permission. Union officials also face fines for merely mentioning pay equity with other construction sites or union training during negotiations.
"You know, and we're not going to be intimidated and when some of us ... some of us will go to jail under these laws," Combet told the Press Club on Wednesday. "No, it's not a joke. Some people will go to jail," he said.
Speaking on Melbourne radio, the Prime Minister confirmed jail was an option: "If you don't pay fines ... if you don't pay a fine, theoretically you can go to jail," he said.
CFMEU national construction secretary John Sutton has written to the new anti-worker building industry police force seeking clarification on how the harsh new laws would be applied to his members.
If, as is likely, workers can not afford or refuse to pay the fines on principle, then there will not be enough prisons in Australia to accommodate these political prisoners," Sutton says
"The government appears hell bent on criminalizing `industrial action and is heading for a major crisis in the administration of justice," he said.
John Lloyd, Commissioner with the Australian Building and Construction Commission has confirmed that under Section 38 of the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act "a person must not engage in unlawful industrial action." as "The Act provides for a fine only (up to a maximum of $22,000 for an individual)"
"There is no provision for a term of imprisonment to be imposed for engaging in unlawful industrial action," he said, and would not be drawn on what would happen to a person who did not pay the fines.
Numbers Swell for Protest
Hundreds of thousands of Australians are expected to challenge draconian new workplace regulations at November 15 protests around the country.
Participants at hundreds of locations around Australia will be linked to Melbourne in the nation's biggest-ever video link-up.
The Sky Channel broadcast will be beamed into workplaces, clubs and community venues in every state and territory.
Workers and their supporters will be campaigning against federal government laws that promote secret individual contracts; sideline the IRC; threaten minimum wage increases; strip their rights to contest unfair dismissals, slash minimum standards and introduce big fines and prison terms for unionists who resist that agenda.
Previous protests, during the first week of July, drew 120,000 people onto the streets of Melbourne and more than 150,000 to 250 venues around NSW.
Organisers expect next week's turnouts to better those numbers.
Capital city focal points for the November 15 day of action include:
Federation Square, Melbourne, 9am.
Martin Place and Belmore Park, Sydney, at 9am.
Turf Club, Fannie Bay, Darwin, 8.30.
Southbank, Brisbane, 9am.
Princes Wharf, Shed 1, Hobart, 8.30.
The Esplanade, Perth, 12 noon.
Elder Park, King William St, Adelaide, 8am.
Betting Hall, Canberra Racecourse, Canberra, 8.30.
For more details of the Day of Action go to www.rightsatwork.com.au
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