Ark Tribe decision draws nearer

Photo: Maritime union of Australia- MUA/Flickr

Construction workers and trade unionists from across Australia will once again rally behind rigger Ark Tribe when his struggle against the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) continues on November 3 at the Adelaide Magistrates Court.

Fundamental workers rights rest on the outcome of the case.

The Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) has led the call for the six-month jail sentence Ark Tribe faces to be thrown out, and for the ABCC, which continues to treat construction workers as second-class citizens, to be abolished.

The CFMEU is hoping for the biggest rally yet in support of Ark, and will set up an “Ark Tribe Embassy” in Adelaide’s Victoria Square at 8.30am. The Buildings Trade Group and Unions NSW have called a rally at noon at Sydney Town Hall on November 3.

The dispute began in 2008 when Tribe took part in an unauthorised safety meeting on a construction site at Adelaide’s Flinders University.

The ABCC has the power to investigate unauthorised union activity, and can jail uncooperative workers for up to six months.

Ark Tribe refused to attend an ABCC interrogation about the meeting, and the ABCC threatened him with six months in jail.

The case has drawn international attention from overseas unions.

Britain’s largest construction union, the Union of Construction Allied Trades and Technicians, said on June 6 the ABCC’s case against Ark Tribe was a “clear attack on working class organisations that must be opposed wherever and whenever found”.