Contributed by Joe Montero
It’s started already. A new attack on the unions was always going to come. But Scott Morrison and his government’s backers and real power behind the scenes couldn’t even wait till the new year.
Federal Police raids have just been made on the office of the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) headquarters at Pyremont in Sydney.
Photo by Alison Xiao/ABC: Police at the back where they first entered the building
It is understood that raids have been taking place at several other locations and have involved NSW police backup. Homes of some union officials have been targeted.
One thing is certain. This is part of an ongoing war on the union. This war is ultimately about removing the influence of unions to stand in the way of the restructuring on industrial relations. Not to benefit workers but to lower the cost on employers through inferior working conditions and lower wages across all industries.
It was clear that the Morrison government would continue its class war after Covid-19. This has come quicker than expected and goes to show that the intent is serious.
The situation calls for greater unity of the union movement and standing together to rebuff this onslaught. All must take part in defending the CFMMEU and defeating this attack. which after all, is really directed against all of us.
A spokesperson for the Federal Police confirmed that the raid was at the behest of the Union Task Force, and part of an ongoing investigation. This Task Force was given the role to follow up on allegations made at the Union Royal Commission 5 years ago, and it has doggedly continued to carry out its orders.
This was a heavily politicised Royal Commission that made no secret of its ambition to hunt down this union. It was widely understood that its purpose is to tame the union movement by crucifying one as an example to all. This has not changed.
Photo from the New Daily: Union banners
Although Fair Work Australia and the Task Force are supposed to be neutral, the overwhelming evidence is that they have been partisan to working with the employers to minimise union presence at work sites, using unjust law and intimidation. Accusations and charges are always one sided, and this is in an industry where death and injury rates are higher than in others.
There has been a relentless campaign to vilify the leadership and wedge divisions within the union’s organisational leadership. An ongoing concerted media campaign, waged through Rupert Murdock’s flagships has been vicious, relying on rumours, innuendo, and outright falsehoods, as is the custom in this media mogul’s empire.
The police crackdown fits in with ongoing harassment of the union across Australia, using accusations of breaching the fair work act, over taking action on matters like safety on the job, and the right of officials to enter and talk to union members.
Commenting on the Sydney raids and the politically motivated one sidedness of the Morrison government’s approach to industrial relations, Sally McManus, secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), questioned why police were not raiding “banks for money laundering and child exploitation … politicians’ offices for funding rorts and fundraisers with developers … companies for tax rorts and wage theft”.