Salvadoran workers stand firm over racism
By Bill Mason
BRISBANE — Latin American workers at the Steel-Line Doors factory at Sumner Park, in the western suburbs here, are standing firm in their month-long strike over allegations of racist discrimination and violence.
The case is now listed for mention at the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission on December 20, following the failure of a conciliation hearing to resolve the dispute.
The workers walked out on November 10 after suffering a long series of incidents of violence, intimidation and racial victimisation at the plant.
According to Garrie Gibson, Labor MP for Moreton, speaking in the House of Representatives on December 5, "The violence has resulted in accidents and injuries to workers. A number of them have either permanently left the employ of Steel-Line Doors or are on sick leave because of the injuries they have sustained.
"Unfortunately, at the conciliation hearing, I am led to believe, the management of the company has refused to accept any responsibility for the violence, harassment and discrimination that has occurred at the workplace despite the overwhelming evidence that this is occurring."
Jorge Rodriguez, a leader of the striking workers, told Green Left Weekly, "We are merely demanding that there will be no more discrimination, good conditions for our workers and no more violence".
Support is beginning to come in from unions, migrant organisations such as Australian Aid for El Salvador and other areas.
The workers have had no income for a month, and urgently need assistance. Send donations and messages of support to: Central America Workers Community, PO Box 368, Goodna 4300, or phone Jorge on (07) 278 7602.