New union rights fight looms in Australia
The Age, the main daily paper in Melbourne, Australia, reports that Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Secretary Jeff Lawrence is jetting back from London to deal with a dispute between the unions and the Labour government (what a peculiar notion!) centring on reforms to the previous Liberal government’s legislation on trade unionism in the construction sector. Regular readers of this site might therefore understand why the session he was advertised to run next Monday, on organising in Australia, has been cancelled!
The Liberals had introduced some particularly draconian legislation, for example making it a criminal offence for construction union officials not to answer questions from a special Commission about which members were at meetings, what was discussed etc. Labour promised to half reform the measure during the general election – worried about looking as if they were giving unions everything they asked for – and the dispute has rumbled on since. At their triennial conference earlier this month, the ACTU launched a campaign (Rights on Site) “to get rid of the Australian Building and Construction Commission and make all Australian workers equal before the law.”
Good luck Jeff!