E.P. Robinson workers end strike


By Dave Mizon

GEELONG — On July 5, a mass picket was held at the E.P. Robinson wool scourers site to mark the end of the strike and picket line.

Workers were locked out by management 21 weeks ago because they signed up with the Shearers and Rural Workers Union, not the boss's preferred union, the Australian Workers Union.

The picket was called off with none of the workers' demands achieved: reinstatement with no loss of entitlements, recognition of the SRWU on site and improvements to unsafe working conditions.

Despite the resolve of the sacked workers, the strike was in large part thwarted by the leaderships of the AWU and the Transport Workers Union. The company also received assistance from an employers' association, allowing it to survive four months of little wool coming in or out of the factory.

The workers received solidarity from various union organisers and rank and file members, but never officially from any union. The sacked workers are continuing a legal challenge to the dismissals.