Andrew Martin

As part of a series of nationwide delegates meetings, the Queensland branch of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union held a delegates’ forum on February 26 at the Queensland Council of Unions building.
Two public screenings of Constructing Fear have been held in Brisbane — the first on September 19 to an enthusiastic crowd of 200 people at the University of Queensland organised by the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU). The film exposes the role of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, the anti-union taskforce set up by the Howard government following the recommendations of the Cole Royal Commission.
On September 19, 100 print and maintenance workers at printing company PMP’s Wacol site south-west of Brisbane took protected industrial action for 48 hours in a bid to bring the company to the negotiating table for a new enterprise bargaining agreement. The workers were supported by their union, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), which formed a peaceful picket line at the workplace entrance.
Earlier this year, three workers on 457 “guest worker” visas died on the job in separate incidents. Both the construction union (CFMEU) and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) are calling for an independent judicial enquiry into the treatment of all of the 50,000 workers on these visas. In many cases, these workers are underpaid and given heavy manual labour, rather then the skilled work that is stipulated in their visa conditions. Green Left Weekly’s Andrew Martin interviewed AMWU Queensland state secretary Andrew Dettmar, about the 457 issue.
Two events took place in Brisbane to commemorate one of the bitterest industrial disputes in Australia’s history. A forum held by the Brisbane Labour History Association, and a musical theatre production Red Cap explored the events of the 1964-65 Mt Isa miners’ strike that put the north Queensland town on the map, galvanising the community in support of the miners.
A gathering of 150 unionists and political activists stood outside the Queensland ALP conference held at Brisbane’s Exhibition and Convention Centre on June 30. Organised by the state branches of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and the Electrical Trades Union, the protest called on the ALP to maintain the promise made at the ALP national conference to abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC). After the national conference, Labor’s industrial relations spokesperson Julia Gillard announced that a Labor government would keep the ABCC until 2010.
Three Filipino workers sacked for speaking out about their and 37 other Filipino workers’ treatment by Ipswich welding firm Dartbridge Engineering have been found alternative employment by their union, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU).
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