||Issue No. 318||03 August 2006|
Don't Bank on Costello's Oil Shocker
Interview: A Life And Death Matter
Unions: Fighting Back
Industrial: What Cowra Means
Environment: Scrambling for Energy Security
Politics: Page Turner
Economics: The State of Labour
International: Workers Blood For Oil
History: Liberty in Spain
Review: Go Roys, Make A Noise
The Locker Room
What Was He On About?
Belly On Balance
Spooks Go “Nuclear”
The prospect of massive damages bills, on top of $28,000 fines, was floated by the head of John Howard's Building Industry Commission at an industry gathering in Sydney, last week.
John Lloyd told the Building Science Forum damages claims against individuals who struck in support of a sacked delegate were options that hadn't been ruled out.
CFMEU national secretary, John Sutton, a guest at the forum, was left in no doubt about Lloyd's intention.
"Unscripted, he raised the prospect of suing our members," Sutton said. "I took it as another threat, a shot across our bows.
"He was telling us he had a nuclear device in his arsenal and he was prepared to use it."
The 12-day stoppage on the Perth-Mandurah rail project, in March, has seen the Commission, and the employer, test a new armoury delivered by a federal government that has made no secret of its desire to destroy the CFMEU.
Leightons has filed a $13 million damages claim against the CFMEU in the Supreme Court, while the Commission has targeted individual members.
The existing actions, and threatened damages, come under either Howard's revamped Workplace Relations Act or his recently-passed Building Industry Improvement Act.
Amazingly, the crippling actions stem from a case in which the employer, Leighton-Kumaigi, appears to have already conceded it was in the wrong.
It sacked delegate, Peter Ballard, against a background of complaints over safety standards and repeated claims of victimisation.
Workers Online understands the joint venture eventually resolved the sacking issue by making a substantial payout to Ballard.
"The men on the job considered the sacking unjustified and there is some evidence the company came to the same conclusion," Sutton said.
Sutton said whether or not Lloyd chose to go for the jugular with damages actions would be a political decision.
"This is all part of a softening-up process aimed at curtailing democratic and civil rights," Sutton said.
"John Lloyd is a political appointment to a political position.
"When it comes to suing these individuals he will make a political assessment, rather than a legal one.
"His consideration will be whether or not, at this stage of the campaign, suing individual workers will damage his political masters and his office."
Solidarity with the 107 visit: www.cfmeuwa.com/cfmeuwa/supportthe107/solidarity
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