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    "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
    Cesar Chavez

    :: Tuesday, August 01, 2006 ::

    CFMEU calls for solidarity - By Annolies Truman, Perth, Australia
    “Fifty-six-hour weeks, plus compulsory overtime, were the norm”, Pes added. “Fifty-six hours underground week in, week out, with the noise, vibrations and 12-hour shifts, lead to fatigue and that’s a safety issue as well.”

    When the union safety representative, Peter Ballard, tried to have safety regulations enforced he was sacked. When the workers’ requests that Ballard be reinstated were ignored, they decided to go on strike and were out for 12 days.

    “We were concerned that without our safety rep on the job, we mightn’t be going home to have dinner with our kids at the end of the day. We stopped for one reason and that was for our health and safety on the job”, said Pes.

    “Have a look at the number of injuries that anti-union companies have on their sites and how many people get the sack. 'Oh, your injured, you’re no good to us. See you later.’ But if you get injured on a union site you get taken straight to the hospital, everything is stated and documented, the correct procedures are taken.”

    The article referred to a media interview during which federal workplace relations minister Kevin Andrews was asked why workers were being prosecuted for exercising their right to strike. Andrews arrogantly replied that Australians have not lost that right, but simply have to pay up to $22,000 whenever they want to exercise it.
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