||Issue No. 319||11 August 2006|
Good Versus Evil
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
The Cruellest Cut
Mal Content to Challenge King
King's company, Leighton, used John Howard's WorkChoices laws to sack the last remaining health and safety rep on part of the Perth-Mandurah rail project, after he reported five “serious breaches” to WorkSafe, last week.
Leighton cited "operational reasons", after it instantly dismissed Mal Peters, last Monday.
Peters and his wife had just returned from a two-week, annual leave speaking tour of eastern states to raise support for 107 workers facing $28,600 fines for taking industrial action in support of sacked union delegate, Peter Ballard.
"This is victimisation, pure and simple," Peters told Workers Online. "They have targeted safety reps and union delegates since the job started but it got much worse after the new laws gave them a free hand.
"Two years ago we had six elected safety reps, now there are none. The action they are taking us to court for came about because they sacked our union delegate.
"Anyone who put his hand up was targeted for the chop.
"My family has legal costs and $28,000 fines hanging over our heads, and now I have been sacked. If I can't pay their fine, I suppose I will have to go to jail.
"I would like Wal King to come my place and tell my family what this agenda of his is about."
King, who trousered more than $30 million from Leightons last year, is a big wheel in the Business Council of Australia that aggressively supported Howard's workplace revolution.
The Business Council backed fines and jail sentences for workers and actively promoted sack-at-will laws used to bullet Peters and other elected representatives on the rail project.
The CFMEU has confirmed it will contest Peters' dismissal through the IRC and WA's Occupational Safety and Health Tribunal.
"We can't sit back and let these sort of standover tactics go unchallenged," WA secretary, Kevin Reynolds, said.
"When companies think they can sack elected safety reps who do their jobs and contact health and safety authorities about serious problems, everybody has got a problem.
"We're going to do everything we can to fix it."
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