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Illegal Union Activity
(letter published in The Australian, 11 September 2012.)

You suggest that the authorities “seemingly lacked the authority” to take action to deal with the militant unionism used by the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union to attack Grollo even though the union’s actions were illegal (“Fair Work system under strain”, 8-9/9).

But if this is because the Fair Work legislation itself contains insufficient powers, surely the Victorian Government must take action. This was less an industrial dispute than an attack on protect property rights which the state should support.

Indeed, as the actions by the union were declared illegal by the Supreme Court, the attackers should have been arrested and charged. The failure to do so will only lead to more militant action by the union, as indicated by CFMEU”s secretary Bill Oliver’s statement that the union was prepared to resume a blockade if agreed talks break down next week.

Also relevant is that a union representative is reported as indicating unconcern about possible large fines. This is not surprising given that the union reportedly holds assets of $40 million and that it is able to obtain additional funding from building companies by threatening costly disruptions unless money is forthcoming

Des Moore, South Yarra Vic

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