Sunday, August 26, 2007

Constructing Fear

Last Thursday more than one hundred members and friends of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) attended the Adelaide premiere of the film Constructing Fear.

This film details the activities of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), a group set up by the Howard government to smash unions in the building industry.

Under the powers given to this bunch of bastards, building workers can be forcibly interrogated and forced to hand over documents, under threat of a six-month jail term. They can even be jailed if they tell anyone about having been interrogated.

Workers can be individually fined up to $28,600 for taking part in "illegal" industrial activity.

In one notorious case, 107 workers in WA who voted despite a union recommendation to strike in support of a sacked shop steward are facing fines of up to $28,600 each. Their cases will be heard in late October, in the run up to the federal election, which is likely to be in November.

This film can be ordered from, or downloaded at no cost, from .

The day after, the film's showing, I had a one man demo on the footpath of the Built Environs job at the Tivoli in Pirie Street. This is the job on which the ABCC has declared the presence of the Eureka flag to be illegal.

I took an hour off work and walked the footpath with a Eureka flag and a bunch of leaflets explaining why I was there.

The blokes on the job appreciated it, and came out to talk to me.

Mechanics from a workshop on the other side of the road took leaflets, and came out several times to talk, and said they wanted to join the protest, that the ban was outrageous.

I also had some good conversations with sympathetic passersby - only two or three people declined the offer of a leaflet.

When an organiser from the CFMEU turned up and spoke with a site manager, I overheard the manager saying that the ABCC had said that unless management removed any sign of the Eureka flag, the company would be prevented from tendering for any Federally-funded projects.

So the Howard regime is not just threatening workers, it's also blackmailing companies.

I'll put the text of my leaflet up in the next post, but in the meantime, here's a catchy little promo piece for union membership from Britain. Enjoy:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I only read about this ban a day before the election. It did not change my vote which was against the government anyway. At least this government is gone and all I can hope is that the labor government will finally end this risdulous ban.