Worker fury as strike case opens

Worker fury as strike case opens
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August 29, 2006

AdvertisementWorkers across Australia have rallied in support of construction workers who today face unprecedented legal action for striking.

More than a thousand protesters massed outside the Federal Court in Perth to support 107 Perth-to-Mandurah railway link workers facing fines of up to $28,000 each after striking in February over the sacking of a shop steward.

About 200 union officials and workers gathered outside the Federal Court in Melbourne to support the West Australian workers.

The Perth rally coincided with the first appearance by the workers from the Mandurah rail project in the Federal Court.

The Australian Building and Construction Commission issued writs against workers last month after they took strike action in February, protesting against the sacking of a union shop steward.

It is the first time individual workers have been fined over such strike action rather than unions.

Speaking at the Melbourne rally, ACTU sectary Greg Combet said the union movement had launched a fighting fund to defend workers prosecuted under the new regime.

"We'll fight for them wherever we need to and anyone else who faces the same treatment," Mr Combet said.

ACTU president Sharan Burrow told today's rally in Perth that the 107 workers and their families should stand strong because workers all over the country were behind them.

"We are going to see these laws ripped up - they are not decent," Miss Burrow said.

"This is not an Australia we want.

"If the government turns its back on working Australians, then we will turn our back on a government which doesn't deserve to rule our country."

Similar rallies in support of the fined workers are taking place today in capital cities around the country.