IR laws end picket

March 18, 1998

By Andrew Hall

WOLLONGONG — The picket line at the Pivot fertiliser plant has ended after six weeks. A representative of the Australian Workers Union told Green Left Weekly that the four members sacked without notice on February 1 had accepted a settlement offer from the company.

The agreement was forced after the Industrial Relations Commission threatened to allow the company use section 166A of the federal Workplace Relations Act to sue the four workers, as well as six officials of the AWU and the South Coast Trades and Labour Council for the several million dollars that was allegedly lost during the picket. Even with the support of the labour council, the workers were unable to take on the company and industrial laws by themselves. A solidarity rally and march planned for March 21 has been called off.

Meanwhile, non-union workers employed via Drake International to replace the sacked workers have unloaded a fertiliser ship at the Pivot plant. Any attempt to stop the unloading by the maritime union crew on the ship would also have broken industrial relations laws.

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