Construction workers and trade unionists from across Australia will once again rally behind rigger Ark Tribe when his struggle against the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) continues on November 3 at the Adelaide Magistrates Court. Fundamental workers rights rest on the outcome of the case. The Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) has led the call for the six-month jail sentence Ark Tribe faces to be thrown out, and for the ABCC, which continues to treat construction workers as second-class citizens, to be abolished.
In a first for the post-Howard industrial relations system, the Fair Work Ombudsman has granted the National Union of Workers (NUW) the right to enter and inspect time and wage records of all workers at Adelaide’s Lilydale chicken factory. The company was investigated by ABC’s Lateline on October 21. It showed the sacking of Sudanese migrant Anyoun Mabior and the terrible conditions at the factory. These conditions included underpayment, bullying, harassment, racism and breaches of health and safety laws.
The campaign against savage cuts to public services in the recent South Australian budget is gaining momentum. More than 10,000 unionists rallied in Victoria Square on October 26 and marched through lunchtime crowds to Parliament House. Nurses, prison officers and firefighters are among the many sectors angry at the cuts, which will cost up to 4000 jobs and affect vital services. The following day, hundreds protested at Parliament House against cuts of $850,000 to the health budget, which threaten the viability of country hospitals at Keith, Moonta and Ardrossan.
Union pressure is building against Premier Mike Rann's ALP government of South Australia. Treasurer Kevin Foley and Rann have been targeted in a campaign by trade unions against the recent state budget. A number of rallies have been called since the budget was handed down. The largest so far, on October 14, estimated at 10,000 by the Public Service Association (PSA).
The campaign against South Australian Labor treasurer Kevin Foley's latest budget is gathering strength. The second rally protesting against the wide-ranging budget cuts — particularly to the public sector — organised by SA Unions, attracted up to 10,000 people on 14 October. Members of the Legislative Assembly were invited to speak, including independents, the Liberal Party and Family First. The campaign has called on the Upper House MPs to block the legislation.
Chanting “Free chickens, caged workers”, on September 24 more than 100 community members and trade unionists protested against the treatment of Sudanese immigrant Anyuon Mabior. Anyuon was sacked by Lilydale Free Range Chicken, in Wingfield, for complaining about a racist email. The National Union of Workers (NUW) has lodged an unfair dismissal claim through Fair Work Australia on Anyuon’s behalf, and will also seek a time and wages inspection.
South Australian Treasurer Kevin Foley’s September 16 budget faces widespread opposition. The budget would slash $2 billion from public spending over four years. A leak to the September 15 Adelaide Advertiser of the Sustainable Budget Commission's report showed recommendations for wide-ranging spending cuts and the closure of schools, hospitals and police stations. Not all of the recommendations will be implemented, but 35 of the Commission’s 43 general recommendations will be acted on.
Building worker Ark Tribe appeared before Adelaide magistrates Court for the 11th time on September 13. Several hundred people gathered outside the court to support him. Tribe faces jail for refusing to speak to the anti-union secret police force, the Australian Building and Construction Commission. The rally was addressed by local and national trade union leaders. The highlight was Tribe's brief speech. He made it clear this was not just about him but about the right of all workers to organise.
On September 13, construction worker Ark Tribe will face Adelaide Magistrates Court yet again. He is facing six months’ jail for failing to attend an interrogation by the construction industry police — the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), created by former Howard government as part of Work Choices, but left in place by the ALP.
On July 22, the trial of construction worker Ark Tribe was adjourned until September 13. Tribe is facing up to six months’ jail for failing to attend an interrogation by the construction industry police — the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC). Thousands of workers rallied around Australia to support him. In Adelaide, 2000 people rallied outside the court over July 20-23. On the first day, the rally included a march on the ABCC's Adelaide office. One of the most popular chants on the march was “Johnny Lloyd you're a rat”. John Lloyd is the ABCC head.