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    "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
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    :: Sunday, September 11, 2005 ::

    Construction shake-up stirs union anger By Denis Peters, Seven.com.au, Australia
    More than $100 million will be poured into a new commission to stamp out lawlessness in the construction industry after new laws passed through federal parliament.

    The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) will have the power to investigate corrupt practices and prosecute companies and individuals.

    Individuals who strike illegally can face fines of up to $20,000, while unions or employer groups can be slapped with penalties of $110,000 under the changes.

    A dark day for Australian workers - CFMEU: Construction & General Division: Press Releases
    Australian workers will, for the first time, be subject to imprisonment for refusing to dob in fellow workers who take part in industrial action, under laws passed by the Senate today.

    The Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act sets a new low point for workers' rights in Australia.

    CFMEU construction national secretary John Sutton said the laws, designed to destroy unions in the building industry, established principles that would undermine rights for all Australians.

    These include:

    * outlawing the right of workers to take industrial and political action
    * curtailing the right to workers to ensure a safe place of work
    * subjecting workers to surveillance and harassment in an attempt to de-unionise the building industry
    * introducing enormous fines and uncapped damages claims against ordinary workers.

    The legislation establishes a government body, the Australian Building and Construction Commission, with powers to jail workers who refuse to give evidence about statements fellow workers make at industrial meetings.
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