Gladstone strike threatened
By Bill Mason
BRISBANE — A major row is brewing over the dismissal without warning of 90 workers at Comalco's Boyne Island aluminium smelter near Gladstone. Preparations for the use of scabs to keep the plant going during any big strike have further inflamed the 1000 employees.
A snap stoppage of ironworkers' union (FIA) members on April 19 put the company on notice of a possible national confrontation over moves to bring in scabs recruited from staff in its New Zealand operation.
FIA state secretary Des Evans said the company had used the recession and depressed aluminium markets as an excuse for the "malicious, reckless and unthinking" sackings.
The Queensland National Party blamed the retrenchments on the state Labor government's failure to sell the publicly owned Gladstone power station to Comalco at a bargain price, a charge denied in a company newsletter.
Discussions are proceeding about possible nationwide union action against Comalco.