WA unions show how deal with Rudd’s anti-union laws

Employers in WA’s Pilbara region have warned that militant strikes at Woodside’s Pluto site could spread across the whole resources sector.  The Woodside strikers have defied threats of huge fines under Rudd’s anti-union laws to stage an eight-day strike, and further action looked likely as Solidarity went to press.
Meanwhile workers secured a 30 per cent wage rise following strike action at Total Marine Services, also in WA’s resources sector.
The Australian Mines and Metals Association admitted the company was forced to cave after, “The MUA took crippling strike action until vessel operators were no longer able to afford to withstand the action”.
The union is pursuing similar claims at Farstad, where there have been five strikes since mid-November, and at Go Offshore shipping.
The successes scored through use of serious strike action in WA are a lesson for other workers locked in disputes with their employers—from Australia Post to manufacturing workers and those at Star City Casino.
Rudd has sided with hysterical calls by the employers for action against the unions. Even the ACTU told the Woodside strikers to return to work and comply with the court orders.
But the lesson is that concerted strike action and defying Rudd’s workplace laws, which retain all the worst anti-strike measures of WorkChoices, can score real gains for workers. It can also kick the Australian Building and Construction Commission off building sites and keep Ark Tribe, the worker facing court for defying it, out of jail.


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