Trade union OHS protests are shortsighted

On the eve of the ACTU Congress, the construction unions have threatened disruptions to building sites in, not surprisingly, New South Wales. This State was always going to be the one with the most to give up for the sake of national harmonisation of OHS laws.

It is reported in the Australian Financial Review on 2 June 2009 (page 11, not available online) that the CFMEU acting state secretary, Jim Tulloch, has said

“This is a line in the sand issue for trade unions……There’s a lack of leadership at the federal level and lots of states have been coerced into signing something that they are going to be held accountable for.”

This may be the case and the CFMEU may be positioning themselves prior to the ACTU Congress but the disruption is a risky strategy.  Not only would any of the action be illegal, the Federal Government has yet not abolished the draconian Australian Building & Construction Commission (ABCC).  Union protesters are likely to find themselves again in front of the ABCC being forced to answer questions.

The national OHS system is still being finalised but the union action will serve little purpose other than confirming the political perspective that the New South Wales government is overly influenced by the union movement.  Surely by now the union movement has learnt there are other ways to achieve aims than by confrontation.

Kevin Jones

Categories campaign, government, law, OHS, politics, safety, UncategorizedTags , , , , ,

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