December 14 marked the 100th day since the unfair dismissal of Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) construction division delegate Barry Hemsworth from his job at Botany Cranes. The managers used the federal government's new anti-union laws to sack Hemsworth for the purported crime of "insubordination" — in fact because he was defending the occupational health and safety standards at the company.
Worker Solidarity, a new community support group for unionists struggling against John Howard's IR laws, organised an action on that day at the Chatswood Transport Interchange construction site. The builder on the site had previously been a regular user of Botany Cranes.
Pat Donohoe from Worker Solidarity told Green Left Weekly that around a dozen people handed out leaflets to workers on the site and truckies making deliveries. "The response was very sympathetic and we were told that the builder there had stopped using Botany Cranes, presumably because of the threat of our action", he added.
Worker Solidarity will continue to target companies using Botany Cranes until Hemsworth wins his job back.
Also on December 14, Unions NSW secretary John Robertson spoke at a solidarity event at the Botany Cranes site to mark 100 days of the campaign. The unions represented at the event included the NSW Teachers Federation, the Maritime Union of Australia and the construction division of the CFMEU. Worker Solidarity activists also attended.