WA unions plan mass delegates' meeting

April 20, 2005

Ian Jamieson
& Nikki Ulasowski, Perth

A Unions WA executive meeting on April 12 decided to call a cross-union delegates' meeting — likely to be held in May — to form a campaign committee against the federal Coalition government's planned anti-union industrial relations "reforms".

UnionsWA state secretary Dave Robinson told Green Left Weekly that the executive meeting decided to propose that the campaign committee be made up of union secretaries and executive members, and that it would organise WA unions to participate in the ACTU week of action at the end of June.

What sort of action it would propose be taken in WA is yet to be determined.

A number of blue-collar unions in WA have been pushing for united union action in solidarity with Victorian unions' planned half-day stoppage and pretest rally on June 30, the day before the Howard government assumes control of the Senate.

According to the April 12 West Australian, Tim Daly, Australian Workers Union state secretary, wrote a letter to UnionsWA urging action. The article also stated that the WA branches of the maritime, construction and transport workers' unions have also backed this call.

Chris Cain, secretary of the WA branch of the Maritime Union of Australia, has been particularly vocal in his support for a cross-unions delegates' meeting. He believes Howard's legislation has to be met with a massive show of force by unionists throughout Australia.

In a media release issued after the April 12 Unions WA executive meeting Robinson stated: "As of today, Western Australian unions will embark on a wide-ranging and multi-faceted campaign of education, information and activism. We will engage and work in alliance with the many community groups and institutions that will also inevitably bear the social consequences of Howard's attack on the rights of working people.

"At this stage, everything is on the table. The UnionsWA executive has not ruled anything out in terms of the actions that unions, standing together, will take. We are determined that every Western Australian will have sufficient information to be able to imagine and understand what their work and family lives will be like in six months time, if John Howard and the Liberal Party are allowed to enact their plans."

From Green Left Weekly, April 20, 2005.
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