|Issue No 60||30 June 2000|
Those Bastards in There
By Rowan Cahill
Joy Mining Machinery workers in Moss Vale (NSW) are still locked out as meetings with the Company go nowhere.
"We have met with the Company and their legal team on a number of occasions but it's just been a waste of time. They don't want to talk about the issues", said AMWU organiser Alan Ward.
The Company refuses to capitulate on its demands for four separate enterprise agreements to cover the different sections at Joy.
About 70 workers from three separate unions (the AMWU, AWU, and CEPU) have been locked-out of their Moss Vale worksite for three months since the collapse of EBA negotiations.
Two picket encampments are permanently manned outside the worksite. The workers are surviving frugally on a fighting fund, while their activities and those of their unions are restrained by Supreme Court injunctions.
At this stage the lockout is in place until July 14, but there are indications it may be extended.
Part of the Company's negotiating problem is evident in correspondence it has sent to the locked-out workers.
In the Joy view of industrial relations, unions and their officials have apparently little to do with workers. There is no umbilical link or structural connection.
Hence Joy's consistent invitation to workers to negotiate with management without union representation.
As one locked-out worker put it to me, angrily gesturing towards Joy's headquarters, "Those bastards in there don't get it; we are the union".
Other people have no trouble understanding unionism and solidarity. Many thousands of dollars have been donated to help Joy workers in their long running dispute.
Large sums were raised at the anti-3rd wave rally, the ALP State Conference, and the ACTU National Congress.
As far afield as Las Vegas, Light Heavyweight boxer Justin Clements, a scaffolder by trade, donated his recent purse of $5000 after hearing of the plight of the Joy workers.
Joy Manufacturing, trading as Joy Mining Machinery, is a subsidiary of the American holding company Harnischfeger Industries Inc., currently operating under US Bankruptcy Code Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Internationally the treatment of the Moss Vale workers is generating concern.
In South Africa, workers employed by Joy have met with company representatives protesting against the treatment of their Moss Vale brothers.
From Geneva the International Metalworkers' Federation has communicated directly with the American Harnischfeger chairman foreshadowing the "launch of an international campaign against Joy Manufacturing" should the Moss Vale dispute not be satisfactorily resolved.
The United Steelworkers of America has also communicated with Harnischfeger, protesting against Joy's actions in Moss Vale.
As the steelworkers point out, "it would seem that at a time when Harnischfeger Industries is in bankruptcy it would be trying to resolve problems, not perpetuate them".
Anyone wishing to donate to the Joy Mining Fighting Fund should call Alan Ward on 0419 404 530.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005