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&34; Date: Thu, 16 Oct 97 10:45:18 CDT
From: NY-Transfer-News@abbie.blythe.org
Subject: Labor News from Australia/GL Wkly
Labor News from Australia/GL Wkly
id BAA19700; Thu, 16 Oct 1997 01:20:52 -0400

Solidarity with striking Gordonstone miners

By Brett Kuskopf, in Green Left Weekly
#293 (15 October 1997)

EMERALD - Miners have entered their second week of picketing the giant underground Gordonstone coalmine in central Queensland. US mining company ARCO has closed the mine and issued dismissal notices to 312 mining and engineering workers at the mine.

Miners and their partners packed out the Town Hall to discuss future strategies for the workers, including maintaining the picket line, gathering local community support and legal action by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Engineering Union (CFMEU).

To escape provisions of industrial relations law on dismissal - last on, first off - ARCO has decided to close the mine down and then re-employ miners on new terms. It is part of a nationally coordinated campaign by ARCO with one objective - to break the CFMEU, the strongest and most militant union in Australia.

The short-term strategy of the mine management is harassment and intimidation of union loyalists. Thugs and goons employed as security guards by ARCO have occupied houses vacated by departing families.

In one case, guards occupied houses surrounding a miner's house after he had joked at a meeting that ARCO needn't worry about him blowing up the house because he would blow up the bridges instead.

The company has made it clear that those on the picket line will not be re-employed. The dispute will heat up at the end of the month when the mine management attempts to evict workers who are not re-employed.

The Gordonstone management has all the hallmarks of the Americanisation sweeping the mining industry. Union officials have been met with mine leadership teams, including solicitors, managers and directors. Members of these teams are screened by ARCO's Denver uarters and implement their orders without question.

ARCO workers face some bitter and prolonged battles, and the workers of Emerald are learning the meaning of solidarity and community. The Gordonstone miners welcome support and donations. The picket line can be contacted by telephone on 0418 759 765 or 0417 742 287, or by faxing (079) 824 471.

Six-month airmail subscriptions (22 issues) to Green Left Weekly are available for A$80 (North America) and A$90 (South America, Europe f Africa) from PO Box 394, Broadway NSW 2007, Australia http://www.peg.apc.org/~greenleft/ e-mail: greenleft@peg.apc.org