Since May Boeing maintenance workers at the RAAF base at Williamtown, NSW have been trying to negotiate a collective agreement through their union.
After years of being played off against each other in secret, individual contracts AWU workers finally demanded that Boeing negotiate a collective deal on wages and conditions. Boeing has responded with the use of scab labour. A continuous picket line has been held since June.
AWU National Secretary Bill Shorten said: "We will be calling on Bob Baldwin, the local member, and his masters in Canberra to show some common sense and common decency and admit that these workers are not asking for anything unreasonable.
"All these skilled technicians want to be able to do is exercise their right to have their union negotiate with their employer on their behalf.
"The Howard Government is spending millions of dollars on advertising that says all Australian workers have and will retain the right to choose a collective agreement.
"But when it comes to the crunch, the Prime Minister and his government have chosen to side with big business and help deny these Hunter Valley workers a fair go."
The tenacity and commitment of the workers who are picketing, when supported by other workers in various forms of solidarity action, can press these disputes to victory. Left to their own devices workers can become isolated and more easily defeated.
In 1998 ‘community pickets’ around Australia supported MUA workers who were locked out by Patricks. It was the strength of the MUA members supported by thousands of other unionists blockading the docks which turned the tide and seriously limited the defeat which Patricks wanted to impose.
Send a message to Boeing and the federal government at: www.awu.net.au/national/news/1126222952_12181.html