|Issue No 63
|21 July 2000
A Burning Issue as Joy Campaign Goes National
By Rowan Cahill
Two workers at Joy Manufacturing's Coniston depot (Wollongong) suffered burns last week when hot oil sprayed from a broken hydraulic ram, as a national campaign against the company's backers gathers steam.
WorkCover was notified of the accident by the South Coast Labour Council, following the failure of Joy management to immediately notify authorities.
The accident occurred almost two months after unions involved in a dispute with Joy claimed working conditions at the depot were dangerous.
The Coniston depot is one of a number of sites controversially carrying out work usually done 70 kilometres away by Joy workers in Moss Vale.
Since the collapse of EBA negotiations earlier this year, about 70 workers employed by Joy in Moss Vale have been see-sawing between strike action and being locked-out. The original lockout began in April and ran for 3 months, but late last week Joy management announced it would be extended until September 5.
Throughout the dispute Joy management has attempted to shut unions out of negotiations.
Workers have been picketing the Moss Vale worksite for nearly 4 months. Their activities, and those of their unions (the AMWU, AWU, and CEPU), are restrained by Supreme Court injunctions.
Delegations of locked-out workers are touring worksites nationally seeking financial support and explaining the ramifications of the dispute.
As they see it, what is happening to them has national relevance. Increasingly they believe that in the rural isolation of Moss Vale, Peter Reith's strategy of locking out workers, starving them into submission, and undermining unionism, is being tested.
There has been a heartening response to the delegations so far, with strong pledges of support from Victorian unionists, while levies have been agreed to by workers in Wollongong, Newcastle, and the Hunter region.
Donations can be made by sending a cheque marked "Joy Workers (Moss Vale) Fighting Fund" to AMWU organiser Alan Ward, P.O. Box 1399, Wollongong, NSW, 2528.
Protest outside Bank's HQ
Meanwhile, supporters of the Joy workers will rally outside the headquarters of one of the companies key backers in several capital cities this week.
South Coast Labor Council secretary Arthur Rorris says rallies will be held outside the offices of Chase Manhatten bank in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra next Thursday (July 27).
"The Chase Manhatten Bank has become a target because of its support of Joy and its US parent Harnischfeger to the tune of US$750 million," Rorris says.
"This support comes at a time when the parent company is facing Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the US and Joy, its wholly owned subsidiary, is practicing crude union busting techniques at its Moss Vale plant."
The Sydney Rally will be held at 12 noon Thursday outside Chase Manhatten, AAP Building George Street
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Environment: Farmers Fudge DNA Dangers
Farmers have missed the chance to have a meaningful debate into the use of genetically modified crops.
International: 'Dot Union' Proposal on the Table
ICANN, the global governing body of Internet domains, has released the following expression of interest in proposing a top-level domain for trade unions
Economics: Edge of the Abyss
Political economist Frank Stilwell argues that a constellation of events gives good reason to be worried about the Australian economy.
History: Taming the Tigers
Prominent labour historian, Dr Ming Chan, is visiting Australia to report on how workers are faring in the new Hong Kong.
Review: Music is Crap
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Satire: Last Kosovars Found Behind Couch
State Emergency Services personnel were called to a house in Brighton this morning, where the last five remaining Kosovar refugees have been found wedged behind a couch.
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