New push for QCH dispute

Submitted by Matthew on 19 September, 2012 - 9:14

Workers in dispute at the Queensland Children's Hospital construction site in Brisbane, Australia, are looking to industrial action at other sites and workplaces to add the final extra squeeze to the pressure on the main contractor, Abigroup, and force it to settle.

Delegations from the site will be going out to talk with workers elsewhere and make the case for solidarity.

In dispute since 6 August, the workers are standing firm despite receiving no strike pay and not even being able to collect donations through a bank account. All donations have to be in cash or in supermarket vouchers.

Unions have been served with court orders to keep away from the site, and the workers have been continuing the dispute as a community protest with the help of Bob Carnegie, a former Builders Labourers Federation organiser called in by the workers after union officials withdrew.

Further pressure will be applied on 21 September, when Bob Carnegie faces a court hearing to order him to keep away from the site. Bob has discussed with the QCH workers and states clearly: "When injustice becomes the law, defiance becomes our duty".

There is huge pressure on Abigroup, too. It is losing $300,000 a day. Abigroup bosses are stubborn, but they are calculators of profits and losses, not people willing to defy the odds for a principle as Bob Carnegie and the QCH workers are.

The workers' demand is for a union enterprise bargaining agreement to cover the site, with a clause ensuring that workers employed by different subcontractors are all paid the rate for the job.

After weeks of obstinate refusal, Abigroup started negotiating on 4 September. It is still negotiating. QCH workers want support for the extra push to get Abigroup, and its parent company Lend Lease, to concede.

Please send messages of support to ishmael1819@gmail.com

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