Socialist Alliance WA co-convener Alex Bainbridge has hit out at legal threats issued by lawyers acting on behalf of Recall management. Recall is a document storage company whose workers have entered their fourth week on strike for an agreement that recognises union rights.
“Yesterday we received a letter indicating that Recall's lawyers are seeking to subpoena documents from the Socialist Alliance regarding the dispute,” Bainbridge told Green Left Weekly.
The letter refers to emails, “facebook blogs”, “twitter tweets”, phone records, text messages, internal files and computer records.
“The Socialist Alliance is proud to be supporting the Recall workers who are simply demanding a modest pay rise and recognition of their union,” Bainbridge said.
“Recall management should be ashamed for trying to turn their lawyers on to us. They'd do better to simply sit down with the workers and negotiate a fair agreement.”
Workers were demanding a 4% pay rise and a union agreement.
The company has offered a 3% rise and a non-union agreement.
The company has already lost more money in the dispute than it would have agreeing to the workers’ terms. Given the small number of workers involved, the total cost of the difference between the two positions is about $10,000 a year.
Bainbridge said: “Of course our members have joined in with community action to defend workers' rights and Recall ought to think twice if they think they can intimidate us with legal threats.''
During community assemblies at the company site, police issued move-on notices to protesters. Bainbridge believes that police should play no role in industrial disputes.
“I personally witnessed lackeys of the boss driving recklessly towards protesters in a way that genuinely endangered people's safety. Police took no action about that.
“But they didn't hesitate to write out move-on notices for protesters, which were arguably an unreasonable abuse of police authority.”
“In this way, police end up playing a private security role for the bosses and for that reason they should be withdrawn.”
A protest rally in support of the Recall workers was held in Perth city on March 13. Activists highlighted the role of HSBC, which owns 24% of the shares in Recall's parent company Brambles, and called on HSBC to intervene to ensure the workers' demands were met.