Six months after Labor’s election, unionists are still fighting Howard’s laws. Dave Kerin of Union Solidarity has been summonsed by the workplace ombudsman to “produce documents” over the Boeing dispute, under a clause of the Howard government’s Workplace Relations Act (predecessor of WorkChoices).
Dave is a long-time trade union activist who helped establish Union Solidarity as a campaign group that provides support to workers fighting disputes with their employers. During the Boeing dispute, they played a critical role mobilising community support for the workers on strike.
Dave Kerin has publicly said he will defy the workplace ombudsman’s order, for which he could face up to six months imprisonment. This comes as CFMEU Victorian senior vice president Noel Washington also faces six months jail for defying the Australian Building Construction Commission (ABCC).
A meeting of about 50 Union Solidarity supporters on May 7 pledged to launch a campaign if the law is used against Dave. Supporters will meet again at 6pm on May 21 at Trades Hall in Melbourne. Since May Day, over 500 people have signed up to the campaign to defend Dave Kerin.
The defiance of Dave Kerin and Noel Washington must be supported with immediate action from the whole union movement if either is jailed. This would be the perfect opportunity to make a stand against the remaining