Date: Thu, 16 Oct 97 10:45:18 CDT
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)
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