Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Workers fight against the sacking of shop steward

Workers at Australian Envelopes in Melbourne’s south east are entering their ninth day on strike over the sacking of their shop steward and safety rep, Matt Stephens.

A picket line has been established and the company has posted dozens of security guards outside the Notting Hill plant in an attempt to intimidate the workers. It is also expected that they will take the dispute back to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) tomorrow.

About 60 workers, all members of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (Print Division), walked off the job last week after Matt was sacked over an alleged ‘bullying and harassment’ incident. The union claims that Matt was set up and he was really sacked because he was an effective activist on the job.

In an initial hearing, at the AIRC, it was recommended that the company reinstate Matt but they have so far refused to do so. It is widely anticipated that the commission will find the strike illegal tomorrow and therefore the workers have asked that the community take over the running of the picket line in the coming days.

The picket is located at 282-294 Ferntree Gully Road Notting Hill, we urge all trade unionists and concerned members of the community to show thier support by attending. Delegates and activists on the job are the backbone of the union movement and we must defend them against unfair treatment from the bosses.

By Anthony Main