There are two ways to deal with the attack on WA building workers employed at the $1.6 billion Perth to Mandurah rail project.
107 individual workers are facing fines up to $28,000 each for striking against the sacking of their elected onsite union and health and safety representatives. This is first time since Work Choices was introduced that the ruling class have moved to attack individual workers and not a union and its officials.
The position of the CFMEU is to organise a fighting fund nationally to pay any fines. This could give the green light to bosses and the Federal government to employ similar attacks elsewhere.
Some workers on the project have indicated that they are willing to defy the anti-union laws and not pay the fines. This militant stance, if backed by the entire union movement or at least the progressive unions, can force a head-on battle with the ruling class that could see the smashing of these laws as effective instruments to break workers’ resistance to Work Choices.
It’s true that unions must pick their battle, but this is one that is worth picking.
By Socialist Party reporters