Ark Tribe

[The Socialist Alliance National Executive released this statement on December 7.] The arrests of Victorian Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) officials, state secretary, John Setka and assistant secretary Shaun Reardon, demonstrate that the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption is purely a witchhunt against unions.
Workers downed tools at the Wonthaggi desalination plant, near Melbourne, after the November 18 Australian claimed senior managers of building contractor Thiess Degremont hired the Australian Security Intelligence group (ASI) to spy on union members, union delegates and others working on the project earlier this year. Thiess is a subsidiary of one of Australia’s largest companies, Leighton. The ASI is a company run by notorious strikebreaker Bruce Townsend, jailed in 2006 in Hobart for receiving stolen cars.
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 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.
Unions NSW has called a mass rally and march in Sydney at noon on July 20 in support of South Australian construction worker Ark Tribe, who faces court in Adelaide that day. Tribe faces jail for refusing to be interrogated by the Australian Building and Construction Commission, the special police force set up to break the power of the building unions. The set up by the former Coalition federal government and continues under Labor.
On June 15, around a 1500 people, representing nearly every union, gathered outside Adelaide Magistrate's court for the first day of a week of rallies supporting construction worker, Ark Tribe, in his battle to defend himself against the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).
Thousands rallied around Australia in support of Ark Tribe, a construction worker facing jail for simply failing to attend an interrogation by the construction industry police — the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC). Workers held an overnight vigil outside the ABCC offices in Melbourne, 500 rallied and marched in Sydney and up to 1500 rallied outside the Adelaide Magistrate's court where Tribe is on trial. Trade unionists from around the country travelled to Adelaide to show their solidarity.
Ark Tribe is an Adelaide construction worker facing up to six months’ jail for refusing to be interrogated by the Australian Building and Construction Commission, the secret police set up by the former John Howard federal government to smash the strength of the building unions. The following article is abridged from www.arkstribe.blogspot.com. * * *
Queensland ALP deputy premier Paul Lucas and other ALP leaders faced hostile chants and heckling from workers at the annual Labour Day march in Brisbane on May 3. The main message from the union contingents, numbering 10,000, was opposition to the sale of state assets — including railways, ports, forests and motorways — by the Bligh Labor government. Premier Anna Bligh herself was overseas to promote the sell-off to North American investors.
On May 1, international workers’ day, 500 people marched in Wollongong. Trish Corcoran from the Socialist Alliance spoke about the racist Northern Territory intervention on Aboriginal communities, and the solidarity the union movement is showing with the people fighting it. Chris Cumming, from the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union, reported on the nasty dispute between the Tahmoor mineworkers and their employer, coal multinational Xstrata. Nearly $450 was raised at the rally for the miners.

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