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Union Makes Threats

4 August 2010

High-profile Australian construction unions seems to think they have a right to threaten, intimidate, bully, harass and even be violent towards anyone who won't do as the union says.

They are violent toward fellow workers. This video clip was made by workers trying to go to work at the Westgate Bridge project in Melbourne in 2009.

These unions also threatened office workers whose jobs it has been to police and enforce the law on construction jobs across Australia.

Here's the transcript of a speech at a construction union protest outside the office workers building at 553 St Kilda Rd Melbourne on 20 July 2010. Caution!: there's pretty foul language used!

    If you look across the road at that crane over here, you'll see the CFMEU flag flying on the tube.

    On this other side of the road [points ABCC offices] where the rats are, that's what they gotta look at every morning and all day, when they walk out of their window that's what they gotta look at, right.

    So if you were one of them you'd be wondering, who's winning this battle. We know who's winning this battle, we're winning this battle.

    If they were winning this battle, if they had any balls or any guts they wouldn't be hiding up where they're hiding.

    Their place would be North Melbourne lost dog's home, that's where they should be.

    Now just remember one thing guys, we went though a royal commission.

    We went through the Cole Kangaroo royal commission where they alleged thuggery, and, and a whole lot of other things.

    During that royal commission we embarked on a 36 hour week campaign.

    Cos a lot a construction workers here, and some of yous it's a distant memory but you remember, you used to work on a shopping centre, you had every second Monday off, and then you go back to a normal job and it was only once a month.

    How dreary was that?

    Well we promised, we had a poll, the members all said, we want a 36 hour week.

    We had the blue, we had a big battle, during the middle of a royal commission, and everybody said, yous are absolutely crazy, you'll never win, they'll destroy you.

    Well guess what, you got a 36 hour week and you've had it for a number of years now.

    These f**kers up here would like to take it off ya.

    There's no other nice way of putting it. And that's what they are - f**kers.

    There's an old saying, my mother used to say and I've said it before.

    She used to say, the more you touch shit, the more it smells.

    Well that's them, they are shits. They're the shit that they are.

    We're proud. We're construction workers. Everyone of you goes to work everyday in dangerous conditions, you risk your lives.

    It's not working in some warm office like them f**kers up there are doing right.

    And they've got the balls to try and prosecute us.

    That building, [points ABCC offices] sitting there was built by construction workers. It was built by union members, right. So they've got no right. At all.

    So John Lloyd that f**ker John Lloyd, who's no longer there. Who's gone. See ya later.

    There'll be another f**ker to replace him.

    He's gone and I hope the last thing he seen was that union flag flying on that crane over there.

    And just to the taskforce; or rats, dogs, whatever. That's what they are.

    Just to remember one thing.

    When this is all over and they don't exist anymore, they've gotta work elsewhere. And we will remember them. Cos we know every f**king one of them, we will never forget them.

Some of these same office workers have been singled out with overt threats and intimidation directed at them personally with their private home addresses and phone numbers circulated.

The Herald Sun (April 2009) explained how "Union thugs threatened a VicRoads supervisor when they attacked his home and hurled a brick through a window with a menacing note."

The paper also explained how "Building industry inspectors are living in fear after being branded "rats" and having their home addresses circulated on Melbourne building sites."

Here's one of the flyers that was handed around construction sites in Victoria. Notice the author/s did not put their name/s to the pamphlet. (We have removed the targeted workers' names and details). Caution!: again there's more foul language used. PDF here.

What's been behind all this?

The issue is simple. For years, some unionists in the construction industry have controlled construction sites. About five years ago, new laws came into effect to ensure that construction was free from harassment and intimidation. A new 'construction cop', the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), was set up to police the industry. Some unionists are waging a political and 'on the ground' 'war' to have the ABCC closed. The violence, intimidation, harassment and bullying against workers shown here is part of their campaign.

Late last month (July 2010) the Federal Court issued fines of $1.3 million (plus costs) against two construction unions over violence and intimidation conducted on the Westgate Bridge upgrade project in Melbourne during 2009. We've linked to the court judgement and pulled out excerpts from the judgement that detail the sort of extreme workplace bullying that's been taking place.

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