The following letters were sent to the MIM workers last week.
To Stephen Hardwick, MIM workers picket line
The Shearers and Rural Workers Union (SRWU) wishes to express full support and solidarity with workers currently in dispute with Mt Isa Mines.
The SRWU was formed on May 1 last year due to the laziness, incompetence and corruption of the AWU-FIME amalgamated union leadership.
Since that time, we have grown from 40 members to over 800 members and continue to grow in defiance of the wishes of many employers and their lap dogs in the AWU-FIME leadership.
On several occasions AWU-FIME officials and bosses have told workers not to join the SRWU because the bosses won't let us represent their workers. However, since when do let a boss tell you who can represent you? And besides, whose interests would they be serving?
You can take it from us that when the boss starts telling you which union you have to join you can be pretty certain that that's the one you shouldn't join.
In any event keep up the fight and for Christ's sake don't give up.
I would be more than happy to attend your meeting and you might just find that the AWU-FIME tactics of using the bosses and the courts to do their dirty work is fairly universal. Unfortunately we are still a little union (at this stage) and cannot afford an airfare. Whether or not we are there in person we are certainly with you in spirit.
Keep the faith.
Shearers and Rural Workers Union
To the Combined Unions Disputes Committee
Your courageous industrial action against the corporate tyrants of Mt Isa Mines is an inspiration to all those who are fighting for a more just Australia.
Your fight has been met by a lockout by MIM. You now hold out against some of the most right-wing forces in Australia
today — the bosses of MIM.
Their intention to remove over-award benefits hard won over 30 years, to reduce wages and to order the police in to arrest the picketers for nothing more than defending their right to a secure job in a safe workplace with decent pay, and to be represented by the union they choose, is indicative of their contempt for all Australian workers.
No one takes on a fight such as yours without being forced into it. We look forward to a society in which it will no longer be necessary to fight for our basic human rights. The forces you're fighting can and must be defeated. You're struggling for all of us and you have our full support.
Democratic Socialist Party, Brisbane