Thousands of union members attend rallies across the country yesterday in support of building worker Ark Tribe, charged by the Australian Building Construction Commission
Ark Tribe is a construction worker from South Australia facing six months prison. He has been charged with not attending an interview withthe Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).
Ark was working on the Flinders University site in Adelaide. Conditions were so bad that workers drew up a petition calling for safety improvements, on a handtowel. It took an intervention by the union and the state government safety regulator to get the most pressing problems fixed and finally, after several days, things began to get back on track.
One by one workers from the site were called before the ABCC. The penalties for those who don't cooperate with ABCC investigations are frightening - fines of up to $22,000 for things like stopping work to make sure workers are safe and jail for up to 6 months if you don't answer their questions.
Even the police don't have the powers the ABCC have. In Ark's words, "If I've done something wrong, I'm prepared to cop it, but I won't be treated unfairly." We need to get the Rudd Labor Government to get rid of these laws, before another construction worker faces jail.
MUA Members joined other unions in support of the CFMEU calling for the release of Ark Tribe and the abolition of the ABCC. In Sydney the Annual Veterans AGM was adjourned and the veterans attended joined by National Officials, Branch Officials and many current Sydney branch members. Get more info on Ark and the ABCC at the Rightsonsite website