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Unions step up campaign against John Howard's building laws

06 June, 2008

Unions have launched a national campaign to give construction workers the same rights as all other workers.

Dave Noonan, CFMEU Construction National Secretary said five construction unions met for an historic gathering in Brisbane to agree a joint union campaign to bring an end to the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

"In Australia today there are special IR laws that only cover building workers that are different from all other workers.

"The ABCC is the creation of the former Howard Government's extreme IR laws, with powers to fine and even jail individual construction workers for standing up for their basic rights.

"Construction workers can be questioned over what happened at a union meeting, and have no right to silence.

"They can be fined up to $22,000 if they stop work for any reason  even over safety, in what is one of Australia┬╣s most dangerous industries," said Dave Noonan.

Leadership of the AMWU, AWU, CFMEU, ETU and the Plumber's Union agreed unanimously that all of the Howard Government's industrial laws must be repealed.

"As long as these laws are in place, the era of WorkChoices will continue.

"The nationwide campaign, not seen since the Your Rights at Work Campaign, will highlight how ordinary workers and union officials face fines and jail just for standing up for their rights.

"Workers in the construction industry should have the same rights as every other Australian worker," said Dave Noonan.

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