BY JODY BETZIEN
MELBOURNE — A showdown between the Victorian Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and construction giant Grocon has been averted at the final hour.
On January 19, a stop-work meeting of 600 Grocon workers voted to implement work bans, starting on January 22. The bans were planned because Grocon had rejected of a peace deal requiring the company to suspend legal action against the union. The CFMEU had promised to suspend industrial action for four weeks if Grocon agreed.
Grocon responded to the threat of industrial action by threatening to lock out the entire workforce. In an eleventh hour meeting between Grocon director Daniel Grollo and CFMEU state secretary Martin Kingham an agreement was reached. Grocon will suspend all legal action against the union that is currently before the courts and begin "enterprise negotiations based on industry principles".
Among the legal action to be suspended is a multi-million dollar damages claim by Grocon arising from a stop-work on a number of the company's sites during last year's construction industry royal commission hearings.
From Green Left Weekly, January 29, 2003.
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