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Campaign news


Video from Bush Telegraph


Video from the MUA/ITUC


12 August 2013 — engaging with Lend Lease workers in London

Lend Lease "incident free"? Not in Brisbane!

Lend Lease “incident free”? Not in Brisbane!

Supporters of the Bob Carnegie Defence Campaign leafleted construction workers on the huge Lend Lease construction site on Victoria Street. The £150 million site will contain shops, apartments, offices, and restaurants.

Around 100 leaflets were distributed. Workers were interested to hear what Lend Lease was up to in Australia; as with Australian sites, few of the workers are employed directly by the main firm running the work, but instead by a variety of contractors.

Some workers had already heard about Bob’s case, including one former Abigroup employee who’d worked in Gladstone!

Supporters plan to the site to leaflet workers again when the verdict in Bob’s case is announced, as well as awareness-raising with passers by.


3 July 2013 — latest leaflet

As we await the verdict in Bob’s case, download the latest campaign leaflet for use in your union branch or campaign group. Click here to download the PDF.


Court stings CFMEU

Reposted from Workers’ Liberty

The Victoria branch of the construction section of Australia’s big CFMEU union has been found guilty of contempt of court after it failed to comply with “restraining orders” issued to prevent it blockading construction sites in Melbourne in August and September 2012.

The sites (the Myer Emporium site and the Footscray site) were operated by construction company Grocon. CFMEU’s grievance related to issues of health and safety on the sites.

Grocon now plans to sue the CFMEU for $10.5 million in damages for money it lost during the blockades to Myer Emporium, Footscray, and two other sites.

The court ruling sets a worrying precedent for the case of Bob Carnegie, a labour movement activist currently facing charges of contempt of court for his role in organising solidarity with a construction workers’ protest in Brisbane during a similar period.


May Day – thousands of construction workers demonstrate to demand “Hands Off Bob!”

Good on the construction unions – BLF, CFMEU and ETU – for actually celebrating May Day today in the only way it should be – by walking off the job! Over 1,000 construction workers demonstrated at the office of the Attorney General in Brisbane to demand “Hands Off Bob!” See the campaign’s Facebook page for video footage from the demonstrations.

Bob faces the next stage of the court proceedings in a few weeks’ time.


30 April – 10,000 construction workers march

Ten thousand construction workers march for better safety standards in the wake of a series of deaths on Victorian construction sites in the past year. The rally was particularly targeted at the giant Grocon construction company, which is involved in an ongoing battle with construction unions over the right of union entry to sites and workers’ ability to elect their own health and safety representatives.

Grocon’s lax attitude to safety on its sites has contributed to a number of deaths in the industry in recent months. This includes three pedestrians killed in March when a wall on a Grocon-owned site in central Melbourne collapsed, and the death of crane driver Billy Ramsay, who was killed in fall on Grocon’s Myer Emporium site in February.

The annual number of deaths on Australian construction sites varies between 30 and 50. In some years, the number of deaths approaches one a week. In this context, one might expect that union efforts to improve safety in the industry would be welcomed.

But in the topsy-turvey world of capitalism this isn’t the case. In the wake of previous union protests against Grocon which disrupted production on a major site, Victorian Attorney General Robert Clarke declared that he would use the full force of the law to go after the CFMEU (the main construction union). In response to today’s march, Premier Denis Napthine condemned the union, saying that their action was ‘disgusting’ and ‘beneath contempt’.

Of course, what’s truly contemptible is the spectacle of politicians like Napthine, major industry bosses like Grocon owner Daniel Grollo, and the mainstream media allowing their desire to limit union power and maximise profits in the industry trump any concern for the lives of workers. Let’s hope today’s impressive display of workers’ power and solidarity can help bring them to their senses.”

(From Socialist Alternative)


7 April – donation and support from Unite Middlesbrough Central 1908 branch

Mark Richardson, the Branch Secretary and Treasurer of the Middlesbrough Central 1908 branch of Unite, the UK’s biggest union, wrote to the campaign to offer his branch’s support, along with a very generous donation of £1,000.

Financial donations are hugely appreciated by the campaign as they allow us to produce more material, organise more actions, and make sure Abigroup, Lend Lease, and the Queensland government know that trade unionists all over the world are still watching Bob’s case.


2 April – Federal Magistrates’ decision reserved until May or June

At the latest stage of Bob’s court case on 2 April, Federal Magistrate Burnett reserved his decision until “late May or early June”. (See this article from the Courier Mail.)

Our campaign to support Bob, and the right of all activists to build solidarity with workers’ struggles, goes on!


Activists at the Melbourne “Marxism 2013” conference join Bob in demanding Abigroup drop the charges

bob melbourne


Activists protest at Queensland House and Australian High Commission in London

Some UK-based supporters of the Bob Carnegie Defence Campaign held protests at Queensland House, the London base of the Queensland government, and the Australian High Commission on Friday 22 March.

London, 22 March #1

London, 22 March #2


March 2013 – support from ASU

Thanks to ASU activists in Victoria for their support. The following motion was passed at their March meeting:

Motion passed in March by the Australian Services Union:

“That the ASU Victorian & Tasmanian Authorities & Services Branch fully supports the defence campaign of union activist Bob Carnegie who is facing legal charges for his involvement and support of striking construction workers.

“We call for the dropping of all charges against Bob Carnegie.”

Moved: Piergiorgio Moro
Seconded: Russell Atwood


London Young Labour backs Bob

Liam McNulty, Campaigns Organiser of London Young Labour (the youth section of the Labour Party in the British capital), wrote to the campaign to let us know that the LYL passed the following motion at its 25 March meeting:

London Young Labour notes that:

More than 600 construction workers struck for nine weeks in August-October 2012 at the Queensland Children’s Hospital construction site in pursuit of a union agreement and equal pay for all workers on the site whatever subcontractors they work for.

The chief contractor, Abigroup, eventually conceded the workers’ just demands and the workers returned to work on 2 October.

However, Abigroup has launched a legal attack on community activist Bob Carnegie in relation to his role in this dispute.

The charges could lead to fines of up to $400,000, and maybe a jail sentence; and Abigroup is also bringing a separate court case for damages.

London Young Labour further notes that:

The campaign to defend Bob Carnegie has received support from Labour MPs John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn, senior figures in affiliated trade unions, the Labour Representation Committee, and labour movement organisations in over a dozen countries world-wide.

This committee therefore:

1. calls on Abigroup to drop its legal attack on community activist Bob Carnegie.
2. believes that this legal attack is an attempt to intimidate every community activist who may in future wish to assist workers in obtaining justice.
3.offers its support to Bob Carnegie and to the Trade Union Defence Committee which is campaigning for Abigroup to drop the charges.

Many thanks to the comrades for their support.


Protest in London on Friday 22 March

Bob’s supporters in London will be protesting outside Queensland House, the UK offices of the Queensland government, on Friday 22 March at 1pm. For details, click here.


2 March – Socialist Alliances (Aus) supports the campaign

Thanks to the comrades for their support. They posted this statement on their website:

Legal proceedings are under way against long-term trade union and community activist Bob Carnegie. The case has serious implications for trade union rights and broader civil liberties.

After leading community support for 600 workers involved in a nine-week strike at the Queensland Children’s Hospital building site, Carnegie faces contempt of court charges — which could result in fines of up to $400,000 and a prison sentence — and a civil damages suit that has the potential for claims running into millions of dollars.

The supposed losses incurred by the employer, for which the claim is being made against Carnegie, are a result of the company’s refusal to negotiate until solidarity industrial actions on other work sites forced the issue.

When negotiations finally began, the workers’ claims were met. The workers have not sued the employer for lost wages. But Carnegie and the unions involved face further charges for nuisance under Fair Work Australia.

The action by the employer, Abigroup, a subsidiary of the giant Lend Lease Corporation, is aimed at intimidating workers from taking collective action or seeking representation by their unions. It is designed to undercut community action in solidarity with striking workers.

Carnegie had initiated the community campaign in response to requests from the striking workers, whose union organisers had been denied right of entry to the site.

Seven years ago the Your Rights at Work Campaign mobilised hundreds of thousands of unionists and community members around Australia to fight the then Coalition government’s iniquitous Work Choices laws.

However, the campaign was demobilised by being diverted into a campaign to elect Labor to government.

The Kevin Rudd ALP government was elected in 2007 as a direct result of the workers’ rights mobilisations.

But Labor proceeded to replace Howard’s Work Choices with a milder version: Fair Work Australia. Workers’ rights are still limited under the ALP — union right of entry is still illegal, and award stripping, job cuts, casualisation, insecure jobs, privatisation and outsourcing have become the order of the day, just as under the Coalition.

Labor did not abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission, an institution set up under the Howard government to persecute building workers. Even the International Labour Organisation conceded it infringed on the rights of workers in the construction industry.

The two-year prosecution of rank-and-file unionist Ark Tribe by the ABCC was defeated in court as a result of a concerted campaign by workers and community activists across Australia.

Labor has turned its back on workers by not removing all of Howard’s punitive industrial relations laws. Labor state governments in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria have paid the price for this betrayal and have been replaced by even harsher Liberal-National governments.

Leaders of the trade union movement have been reluctant to wholeheartedly take on Prime Minister Julia Gillard and call for the scrapping of all anti-union laws.

The Gillard government faces probable electoral defeat in September. The spectre of a Tony Abbott government is likely to be used yet again as the rationale for a vote for Labor, no matter how anti-worker it has demonstrated to be.

The legal proceedings against Carnegie will take place during the pre-election period. The next court date is in April. The prosecution under Fair Work Australia, which also involves the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union, the Electrical Trades Union and the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union, will be heard in July.

At stake in these proceedings are basic trade union and civil rights: right of entry of union organisers to work sites, right of community members to support workers in struggle, community pickets, and, the right of community members and workers to take action without fear of intimidation from employers and courts.

Socialist Alliance supports the campaign to have the charges against Carnegie dropped.


March 2013 – new leaflet!

DefendBobC-Mar2013-v2-sm

Click on the image above to download the leaflet as a PDF.


Friday 15 February – Victorian CFMEU features Bob in Worker Express

CFMEU worker express

Bob made it onto the front page of Worker Express, the journal of the Victorian branch of the CFMEU. Thanks to the comrades for the support!


Sean Ambrose’s speech to the 11 February rally in Brisbane

Sean Ambrose is a Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) activist who was delegated by his MUA branch to attend the rally to defend Bob in Brisbane on 11 February, the day his trial began. We reprint the text of his speech here.

Comrades,

Firstly and although given the circumstances-having grown up as child at a time when uncle Joe’s regime was unravelling due to inquest and Commission, I would just like to express the mixed emotions, having returned to my home State of Queensland-not only as a delegate of the MUA Sydney Branch but also as the delegated representative for the workforce from Patrick, Port Botany but most importantly; being here with you in defiance of Abi Group, the Campbell Newman Government and the anti-worker laws that have since infested this nation and further as I stand here in absolute solidarity with my friend and Comrade, Bob Carnegie. I never imagined Queensland again embracing Conservative rule nor a friend and Comrade being villified and trialled by a Corporation-aided and abetted by the State Government.

The workforce at Port Botany and the Sydney Branch of the MUA and indeed the International Transport Workers Federation have taken a particular interest with Abi Groups legal pursuit of Bob Carnegie and in particular the infringement of basic civil rights and liberties-to such extent that we are prepared to do “whatever it takes” to have these charges dismissed.

The Sydney Branch of the MUA stands in solidarity with Bob Carnegie.

According to legal opinion this is the fiercest assault upon a trade unionist and social justice activist in our nations history.

For me personally, Bob Carnegie is more than a good friend, he is someone that I genuinely regard as a Comrade. He is also a mentor and confidante. In the context of politics Bob is someone that I will wage a relentless Guerrilla war to defend.

Comrades, what we will observe today and that will be waged within the Federal Court goes beyond Bob Carnegie, it goes to the core of trade unionism-to the heart and soul of every Rank & File member and to the blood, bone and courage of every delegate, Organiser and Official.

But Comrades, let me tell you. It goes beyond today and it goes far beyond the advent of trade unionism. Whether your union or not it will strike at the nerve center for the next generation of working people in this country.

If we dont organise, mobilise and execute a united front in retaliation to the Corporate bullying and defend those whom are community activists, advocates for social justice and those whom are prepared to take a moral and ethical stand-We will lose.

As an example: Today with Abi-Groups trial of Bob Carnegie and the contempt of court charges; these charges will have legal ramifications and set a precedent for all-from those fighting to defend our environment-whether it be Coal Seam Gas mining, to protecting endangered species, to having the right to political protest, to Indigenous rights and the basic right to organise and thus utilise our labour as a means of leverage to gain decent working conditions and to live with dignity.

Comrades, as a union delegate and member of the ALP let me tell you that there is nothing “fair” about Labor’s Fair Work Act. Let us send a solemn oath to Ms. Gillards Federal Labor Government-We can vote you in and we can vote you out.

Its now high noon for the Gillard Government to repeal the anti-worker clauses contained within the Fair Work Act.

Comrades, let me tell you something about Bob Carnegie and I take particular interest in Ms. Gillards maiden speech upon entering Parliament and in regard to the 98 Patrick dispute. Comrades, a little unknown fact is that it was Bob Carnegie that orchestrated the turning back of the Columbus Canada with the International Longshoremens Union in the United States. It was Bobs strategic intellect and courage that forced the hand of Patrick and the Howard Government and that ultimately delivered the Maritime Union and its members the Industrial leverage we desperately required.

Comrades, given the circumstances and that it is Chinese New Year-a President of the United States once said “the Chinese use to brushstrokes to write the word crisis. One brushstroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis be aware of the danger but recognise the opportunity”. That man was John F Kennedy.

Indeed this is not only a crisis for the trade union movement and the ALP, as it poses an inherent danger due to being an election year but let us use this as the “opportunity” and leverage to rewrite all that is wrong with the Fairwork Act. The opportunity to ensure that no Corporation nor Government can trial workers and their leadership for having dared to fight for decent working conditions.

Comrades, I’m asking all of you, just for a moment, to have a look at each other and pledge to defend our rights and liberties, to fight, irrespective of factional differences and to fight the injustice that is being waged by Abi-Group and the Queensland Government against Bob Carnegie.

Comrades, to conclude, take what you have heard today back to your homes, communities and workplace. Champion the defence of Bob Carnegie. Agitate and advocate that Resolutions of support and that campaigns be organised and mobilised. Strike a levy for the legal defence of Bob Carnegie. Write to Members of Parliament and question their position in regard to the trial of Bob Carnegie and the inherent injustices of the Fairwork Act. Demand the charges against Bob Carnegie and that the legal pursuit of him be abandoned.

Comrades, today it is Bob Carnegie tomorrow it could be you.


Bob on BMUC website

Thanks to the Blue Mountains Union Council (BMUC) for promoting the campaign on their website.


UK anti-cuts group supports Bob

Thanks to Save Our Services in Surrey, a group campaigning against public service cuts in the south-eastern county of Surrey, in England, for promoting the Defend Bob Carnegie campaign on their website.


Update – Wednesday 13 February – case adjourned until 2 April

All evidence has now been heard in Bob’s case, and it has been adjourned until 2 April. The final day of the trial again saw huge support from trade unionists and community activists.

bob enters court

There was more press coverage from the Australian and Courier Mail.


Support from Galician workers

Gonzalez Moncho Boan from the International Department of the Confederación Intersindical Galega (CIG – Galician Trade Union Federation) sent the following message to the campaign:

Dear Comrades,

On behalf of the IGC – Galega Intersindica Confederation – we express our total solidarity with Comrade Bob Carnegie.

His militant stance in favor of the working class makes him a true example of struggle and class solidarity. What is on trial in this case is the solidarity of the working class.

The Lend Lease Group’s attitude is typical of savage capitalism, without scruples or social limits, human or ethical. Lend Lease cannot tolerate the existence of solidarity, the existence of any comrades like Bob Carnegie. Their hatred is matched only by their greed.

Keep up your spirits, comrade Bob, comrade workers of Australia!

Comradely greetings

GONZALEZ Moncho Boan
IGC – International Dept.


Workers turn out to support Bob as trial begins; Abigroup drop 34 of 54 charges; verdict delayed

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Workers turned out in force in Brisbane, Sydney, and elsewhere to support Bob as his trial began, and kept up their show of strength on its second day (Tuesday 12 February).

Construction workers downed tools to join rallies and mount a guard of honour as Bob entered court. Messages of support were received from Japanese construction workers, and from Sharron Burrow, the General Secretary of the International Trades Union Congress.

The actions received extensive coverage in the Australian press:

Courier Mail

Brisbane Times

ABC News

Sydney Morning Herald

The Age

See also this report from Socialist Alternative.

The actions were also support by the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy.

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A small but hardy band of activists also protested outside the Broadgate Tower, Lend Lease’s most prominent construction project in London.

broadgate


Support from Japanese construction workers

Leaders of Japanese construction workers’ unions sent the following message to the campaign:

Dear Friends,

We extend our message of solidarity and encouragement to Bob Carnegie and to our colleagues of Australian trade unions supporting him.

The Lend Lease Abigroup-inflicted attack on Bob is an oppression against trade unions and their officials and community activists having rose up to support the protesting workers in firm solidarity with them. We the Japanese three unions of construction workers affiliates with the UITBB firmly condemn it.

We have shocked at such highhandedness and moral hazard of the big business happened in Australia that has ratified all ILO core conventions.

We demand that Abigroup drops all the charges against Bob. We call on the Gillard Government to repeal the clauses in the Fair Work legislation that allow employers to take out injunctions against trade union officials and community activists assisting workers during industrial disputes.

We in the spirit of working class international solidarity will continue to support your campaign until Bob Carnegie win a victory.

KOBAYASHI Shinichi, President,
Urban Development Labour Union (Toshiro)

FUJIYOSHI Shigeyasu, President,
All Japan Construction, Transport and General Workers’ Union (Kenkourou)

ANDOU Takahiro, President,
Labour Union of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Japan Meteorological Agency and Affiliates (Kokkoroso)

KANDA Toyokazu, Vice-President of Kenkourou, and UITBB-Executive Committee Member


9 February – Chris White supports the campaign

Many thanks to Chris White, Secretary of Unions NT’s Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA arm and former ACTU Executive member, for promoting the campaign and tomorrow’s rally on his blog. See here for Chris’s post.


8 February – support from RMT (UK) general secretary Bob Crow

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7 February – International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) supports Bob

ITF_logo

The International Transport Workers’ Federation, which represents 4.5 million workers in 708 unions worldwide, has issued a statement in support of Bob Carnegie. Read the statement here.


Leaflet for London protest in support of Bob, Monday 11 February

Facebook event for the protest here.

11 Feb - Bob Carnegie leaflet-page-001


5 February – MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin supports Bob

Paddy Crumlin, National Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, has issued a statement in support of Bob and the campaign, and has called on MUA members to support rallies and other protests on the day of the court case. Read it on the MUA website here.


Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA-ITF) letter to the campaign

Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA-ITF) letter


5 February – international support floods in

As the start of the court case draws nearer, support from labour movement organisations worldwide is beginning to pour in. In the last few days, the campaign has received solidarity messages from:

  • Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA-ITF)
  • Trades Union International of Workers in the Building, Wood, Building Materials, and Allied Industries (UITBB-WFTU)
  • All Pakistan Federation of United Trade Unions (APFUTU)
  • Intersindical-CSC Catalan Workers Union
  • Swedish Dockworkers Union
  • Déi Lénk – La Gauche (Left Party of Luxembourg)

See the campaign’s Facebook group for these, and more, messages of solidarity.


London rally in support of Bob

UK-based supporters of the campaign will be rallying in solidarity with Bob at 1pm (UK time) on Monday 11 February outside the Broadgate Tower, a major project which Lend Lease (Abigroup’s parent company) was involved in. For more details, see the Facebook event here.


4 February – NTEU at Australian National University backs the campaign

The Branch Committee of the National Tertiary Education Union at the Australian National University passed the following motion in support of the campaign:

“The ANU Branch Committee of the National Tertiary Education Union:

a) condemns Abigroup for mounting a serious legal attack on community activist Bob Carnegie in relation to his role in the 9-week dispute at the Queensland Children’s Hospital from July to October 2012;

b) believes that this legal attack is an attempt to intimidate every community activist who may in future wish to assist workers in obtaining justice;

c) offers its support to Bob Carnegie;

d) will publicise Bob Carnegie’s case and the demand that Abigroup drops all the charges against him;

e) agrees to a donation of $100 for the Bob Carnegie Defence Campaign; and

f) calls on the Gillard Government to repeal the clauses in the Fair Work legislation that allow employers to take out injunctions against trade union officials and community activists assisting workers during industrial dispute.”


4 February – major union support from Australia

Campaign Secretary Tom Bramble reports: “Now confirmed… a real breakthrough. The Queensland Council of Unions is now backing Bob’s case and is asking its affiliates, representing hundreds of thousands of Queensland unionists, to take action in support of Bob. More information to follow in the next 24-48 hours!”

The Assistant Secretary of the CFMEU has also backed the campaign and addressed workers at Patrick, Port Botany, encouraging them to take action on the day of the court case. Other wharfies in Sydney, as well as CFMEU members in Melbourne, may also take action to coincide with the start of the case.


4 February – support from UCATT

1328002679_ucatt-logo

Denis Paul Doody has written to the campaign, on behalf of the Executive Council of the Union of Construction, Allied Trades, and Technicians (UCATT) in the UK, to express the union’s support for the campaign.


3 February – PSA promotes the rally

Thanks to the Public Service Association (NSW) for promoting the campaign, and the upcoming rally, on their website. Click here for details.


3 February – Australia-Asia Worker Links backs Bob

AAWL, which works to build solidarity between workers’ struggles in Australia and Asia, has backed the campaign and promoted our rally on 11 February. See AAWL’s website here.

Thanks to the sisters and brothers for their support.


10 days til the rally!

Facebook event here.

Cancel any other appointments that you might have in your diary for Monday 11 February at 8.30am and get along to the Federal Magistrates Court on North Quay to show your support for this working class fighter!

And, if you haven’t yet signed up to the host page for this event, please do so now to get the latest on the Bob Carnegie defence campaign.

International supporters and others not able to attend the rally should email messages of support to be read out to defendbobcarnegie@gmail.com


1 February — Colin Long, Victoria State Secretary of NTEU, endorses the campaign

Colin has emailed to express his personal endorsement and support for the campaign. This follows NTEU branches at the universities of Melbourne, New South Wales, Sydney, Queensland, and the RMIT passing motions of support for the campaign.


31 January – New South Wales Teachers back the campaign

The NSW Teachers Federation passed the following motion at its State Council:

2.Defend Bob Carnegie

From Inner City Teachers Association

Preamble

More than 600 construction workers struck for nine weeks in August-October 2012 at the Queensland Children’s Hospital construction site in pursuit of a union agreement and equal pay for all workers on the site regardless of whatever subcontractors they work for.

The chief contractor, Abigroup, eventually conceded to the workers’ just demands and the workers returned to work on 2 October.

Action

NSWTF

• Condemns Abigroup for its legal attack on community activist Bob Carnegie in relation to his role in this dispute.

• Believes that this illegal attack is an attempt to intimidate every community activist who may in future wish to assist workers in obtaining justice.

• Calls on the Gillard Government to repeal the clauses in the Fair Work legislation that allow employers to take out injunctions against trade union officials undertaking union duties during industrial disputes.

• Publicise Bob Carnegie’s and the Trade Union Defence Committee’s campaign for Abigroup to drop the charges.

• Requests the Federal AEU support this campaign.

Moved by Heidi Claus
Seconded by Lee Symiziris


31 January — RMT London Transport Regional Council backs Bob

_1742875_rmtlogo300

The London Transport Regional Council of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers union (RMT), which represents workers on London Underground as well as other transport workers in the capital, backed Bob’s campaign and agreed a donation of £200.

Many thanks to the sisters and brothers for their support.


30 January – Communication Workers Union (Victoria Postal & Telecommunications Branch – CEPU) supports the campaign

Thanks to the CWU for their support. They sent the following letter to the campaign:

Bob Carnegie (1)-page-001


New campaign leaflet available

Download the new campaign leaflet, which features a list of labour movement supporters, here.


Support from MUA members at Patrick (Port Botany, Sydney)

Dock workers on the evening shift at the Patrick container terminal at Port Botany, Sydney, unanimously carried the following resolution in support of Bob’s campaign on 24-25 January:

“We the rank and file members of the MUA at Patrick Port Botany hereby condemns Abigroup for mounting a serious legal attack on community activist Bob Carnegie in relation to his role in the 9 week dispute at the Queensland Children’s hospital.

“We believe this attack is an attempt to intimidate every community activist who may in future wish to assist workers obtaining justice.

“We the rank and file further condemn the Queensland Government of Campbell Newman for its intervention into this matter and its clandestine pursual of Bob Carnegie.

“We also pledge our full support to Bob Carnegie to extent that a delegation from this Port will march in solidarity with him to the Federal Court. We the rank and file also call upon the MUA to publicise Bob Carnegie’s case and champion the cause demanding that Abigroup and the Queensland Government drops the charges against Bob Carnegie in the next issues of both the Maritime Journal and the Maritime Unity.

“We the rank and file also pledge a levy of $20 per man to Bob Carnegie’s defence campaign and in conclusion;

“We call upon the Gillard Government to repeal the clauses in the Fair Work Act that allows employers to take out injunctions against trade union officials and community activists assisting workers during industrial disputes.”


11 February – Rally in defence of Bob!

On Monday 11 February, supporters of Bob’s campaign will be rallying outside the Federal Court in Brisbane, where Bob’s case will begin.

Bob’s case is scheduled for 9.30am so people are urged to be outside the Magistrates Court by 8.30am sharp to hear Bob and others (details TBA) speak about the charges he faces and the significance of his case to all those who fight for social justice.

For more info, see the Facebook event here.


Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) at DP World Port Botany (Sydney) votes to back Bob

The following motion was carried by MUA members across all three shifts at the DP World container terminal in Port Botany, Sydney, on 18-19 January:

“This meeting of MUA labour at DP World Port Botany:

a) condemns Abigroup for mounting a serious legal attack on community activist Bob Carnegie in relation to his role in the 9-week dispute at the Queensland Children’s Hospital from July to October 2012;
b) believes that this legal attack is an attempt to intimidate every community activist who may in future wish to assist workers in obtaining justice;
c) offers its full support to Bob Carnegie;
d) calls on the MUA to publicise Bob Carnegie’s case and the demand that Abigroup drops all the charges against him in the next issues of the Maritime Workers’ Journal and Maritime Unity;
e) encourages all members to make a $5 or $10 donation to the Bob Carnegie Defence Campaign; and
f) calls on the Gillard Government to repeal the clauses in the Fair Work legislation that allow employers to take out injunctions against trade union officials and community activists assisting workers during industrial disputes.”

Workers have already donated over $800 in individual/personal donations to the campaign.


Call centre worker Clive Tillman sends support

Clive Tillman, a Melbourne-based call centre worker and activist in Australia Asia Worker Links, sent a message of support. Clive writes:

“Hi Bob,

My name is Clive Tillman and I live in Melbourne. I work as a salesman at a
call centre.

I read about your struggle and the important role you played in the protest
last year in Queensland. I also read about the criminal charges you are
facing at the federal magistrates court.

It is absolutely disgusting that in this country workers can face criminal
charges and possible jail for industrial action. Make no mistake, you are
being targeted because you are doing something that everyone else should be
doing: ie standing up to the hitherto unchallenged power of the corporate
robber barons that trample on workers rights.

You are being targeted for political reasons.

I support you fully and you serve as an excellent example for workers in
Australia and around the world to follow.”

The Bob Carnegie Defence Campaign welcomes individual messages of support and solidarity. Please send us yours to this email address.


Leeds LRC donates

The Leeds branch of the Labour Representation Committee, which voted to support the campaign in November, sent a donation on 27 December. Thanks to the comrades for their support.

Leeds LRC donates to the campaign

Leeds LRC donates to the campaign


New leaflet for the campaign

Thanks for this new leaflet to Port Botany wharfie Shane Bentley.

Click here to download leaflet as pdf


Tony Woodhouse, chair of Unite Executive Committee, Dave Quayle, chair of Unite National Political Committee, backs Bob

Dave Quayle, the chair of the National Political Committee of Unite, Britain’s biggest union, has pledged his support for the campaign, as has Tony Woodhouse, the chair of Unite’s national Executive Committee.

The Wirral 9515 branch of Unite also passed a motion of support for the campaign and agreed a very generous donation.

The Wirral 9515 branch of Unite donates to the campaign

The Wirral 9515 branch of Unite donates to the campaign

Unite activists Mick Gaskell, Brenda Saunders, and Craig Thomas have also backed Bob.

Thanks to the brother and sisters for their support!


Northern Amalgamated Workers’ Union (New Zealand) demands Abigroup drop the charges

The Northern section of the AWUNZ, which represents Lend Lease (the company which owns Abigroup) workers in New Zealand, has written to Abigroup boss David Saxelby to demand they drop the charges against Bob. Click the image below to read the letter from NAWUNZ secretary Ray Bianchi.

ABIGROUP BCarnegie 7Dec12-page-001


Public Service Association of New South Wales backs Bob

A central council meeting of the PSA NSW on Monday 10 December voted unanimously to support Bob and offered their solidarity to the campaign.


Veteran US activist lends his support

David McReynolds, the veteran American anti-war and LGBT rights activist, who stood for the US Presidency on a Socialist Party ticket in 1980 and 2000, has written to back Bob’s campaign. David writes: “Please add my name. I hope Bob wins his case.”


Civil service union leader backs the campaign

Mark Serwotka

Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) in the UK, signed a petition in support of the campaign.


Leeds LRC backs Bob

The Labour Representation Committee (LRC) branch in Leeds, UK, passed a motion supporting Bob’s campaign. This follows the national LRC unanimously passing a motion of support at its 10 November AGM.


Turkish union activists send their support

Activists from UID-DER in Turkey contacted us to let us know they’d sent hard copies of our protest letter to Abigroup boss David Saxelby.

UID-DER is a rank-and-file activist network in the Turkish trade union movement.


More union branches and activists back Bob

Support for Bob’s campaign continues to grow in the British labour movement. This week, we’ve received individual support from:

  • Neil Sheehan – Secretary, Unite United Left (North West), Vice Chair, Unite United Left (national), former Unite Executive Council member
  • Mike Tucker – Branch Secretary, Southampton District Unison

The Lambeth Local Government branch of Unison, Britain’s biggest public-sector union, also passed a motion of support, as did Grassroots Left, a grouping within Unite, Britain’s largest union.


Motion passed by Melbourne University NTEU branch committee, 15 November 2012

Defend Bob Carnegie
More than 600 construction workers struck for nine weeks in August-October 2012 at the Queensland Children’s Hospital construction site in pursuit of a union agreement and equal pay for all workers on the site whatever subcontractors they work for.

The chief contractor, Abigroup, eventually conceded the workers’ just demands and the workers returned to work on 2 October.

The University of Melbourne NTEU Branch Committee therefore:
•         Condemns Abigroup for its legal attack on community activist Bob Carnegie in relation to his role in this dispute
•         Believes that this legal attack is an attempt to intimidate every community activist who may in future wish to assist workers in obtaining justice.
•         Calls on the Gillard Government to repeal the clauses in the Fair Work legislation that allow employers to take out injunctions against trade union officials undertaking union duties during industrial disputes.
•         Publicise Bob Carnegie’s and the Trade Union Defence Committee’s campaign for Abigroup to drop the charges.
•         Requests the Victorian Division of the NTEU support this campaign.

Moved: Alex McAulay
Seconded: Katie Wood
____________________________________________________

More labour and student movement from the UK

Within the last few days, more trade and student union branches have passed motions of support for Bob’s campaign. The AGM of the Students Union of Royal Holloway (University of London) passed a motion of support, as did Camden No. 3 branch of the RMT. The London Transport Regional Council of the RMT will now discuss support for Bob at its November meeting.

Eddie Roberts, Unite member and a member of the Committee of the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign (one of two campaign groups active around the issue of justice for the Shrewsbury pickets), commented on this website to say: “Having been made aware of the actions taken against this comrade, I will ensure that union activists within Unite in the North West are also informed and asked to support the demand that theses actions be dropped. I will also circulate the information to a wider network of TU activists.”


RMT Assistant General Secretary Steve Hedley signs Bob’s petition on anti-victimisation picket

Construction electricians in London have been picketing Crossrail sites to demand reinstatement for 28 electricians sacked from the Westbourne Park Crossrail site after their shop steward and safety rep raised safety concerns. On the morning of 14 November, they picketed the main Crossrail site on Oxford Street, as part of the European TUC day of action.

The picket was attended by many leading union activists, many of whom signed the petition to support Bob. These included Steve Hedley, Assistant General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers union (RMT), and Alberto Durgano, cleaning worker activist and organiser for the Industrial Workers of Great Britain (IWGB).

The rank-and-file construction workers’ committee which has been organising the anti-victimisation pickets sent a message of support to the QCH strikers during the dispute, so it’s good to see activists involved in their campaign continuing to support Bob.


12 November – Support from John McDonnell MP and Jeremy Corbyn MP

John McDonnell, Labour Party MP for Hayes & Harlington in West London, and Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party MP for Islington North, have tweeted to support Bob’s campaign.


East Ham branch of the RMT (UK) backs the campaign

The East Ham branch of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers union (RMT), which mainly represents London Underground workers, passed a motion of support for the campaign at its November branch meeting on Thursday 1 November.


National Shop Stewards Network (UK) promotes the campaign

The NSSN has circulated info about the campaign in its latest bulletin (see here). The NSSN was initiated in 2006/2007 by the Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers union (RMT).


Queensland Teachers Union supports the campaign

This meeting of the Queensland Teachers Union State Council:

  • condemns Abigroup for mounting a serious legal attack on community activist Bob Carnegie in relation to his role in the recent 9-week dispute at the Queensland Children’s Hospital
  • offers its support to Bob Carnegie
  • supports the raising of funds for the QCH workers’ relief fund if requested to help pay for the backlog of bills accumulated during the QCH dispute
  • calls on the Gillard Government to repeal the clauses in the Fair Work legislation that allow employers to take out injunctions against trade union officials and community activists assisting workers during industrial disputes.

_____________________________________________________

10 November 2012 – Labour Representation Committee (UK) backs the campaign

The annual conference of the Labour Representation Committee, a left-wing grouping mainly working inside the British Labour Party, voted unanimously to support and publicise the campaign. Click here for a report of the conference, and a link to the text of the motions passed.


On Wednesday 7 November, Bob received court papers for another prosecution, this one under the Fair Work Australia law and the tort of nuisance. The CFMEU, ETU, and CEPU (plumbers’) unions are also involved. The case is due to be heard in July 2013.


MUA Sydney branch supports the campaign

The MUA Sydney branch unanimously passed the following motion at its October meeting:

“This joint October monthly meeting of Maritime Union of Australia members from the Newcastle Branch, Sydney Branch and Southern NSW Branch resolve to congratulate Bob Carnegie for his ongoing support of the building workers in the Queensland Childrens Hospital Dispute. We condemn the 54 charges of criminal contempt that have been laid against Bob Carnegie which represent a spiteful attempt to intimidate every community activist who may in future wish to assist workers in obtaining justice. We stand fully behind those who stand up for workers rights and prepared to assist in the defence of these charges where need be.”

Moved: Sean Ambrose (MUA delegate, Port Botany)
Seconded: Warren Smith (MUA Assistant National Secretary)


Victorian Public Sector Unionists Rank-and-File Network supports the campaign

The newly-formed network passed the following motion:

The Victorian public sector unionists rank and file network condemn the action of Abigroup in suing Bob Carnegie for his role in the recent dispute between the CFMEU and Abigroup. We recognise the important role Bob Carnegie played in the victorious efforts of the union to secure a union agreement on the QCH site.

As rank-and-file union activists, we recognise the charges laid against Bob Carnegie as an act of intimidation against all unionists.

At a time when workers are being attacked across the country, we recognise the importance to all unionists of such victories as that of the QCH CFMEU workers and proudly proclaim “touch one, touch all”.

In that spirit, we extend our solidarity to Bob Carnegie and wish him all the best in his defence against these anti union charges.


NTEU University of New South Wales Branch supports the campaign

The NTEU UNSW branch passed the following motion at its 24 October branch committee meeting:

This branch:

  • condemns Abigroup for mounting a serious legal attack on community activist Bob Carnegie in relation to his role in the recent 9-week dispute at the Queensland Children’s Hospital
  • offers its support to Bob Carnegie
  • supports the raising of funds for the QCH workers’ relief fund to help pay for the backlog of bills accumulated during the QCH dispute
  • calls on the Gillard Government to repeal the clauses in the Fair Work legislation that allow employers to take out injunctions against trade union officials and community activists assisting workers during industrial disputes.

Unite Glasgow Community, Youth Work, and Not for Profit Branch (UK) supports the campaign

The following motion passed on Thursday 1 November:

This branch:

  •  Calls on Abigroup to drop its legal proceedings against Bob Carnegie.
  •  Condemns the legal proceedings as an attack on effective trade unionism and the right to strike.
  •  Agrees to: donate £50 to the Trade Union Defence Fund in support of Bob Carnegie, and to write to Abigroup in line with the above.

_______________________________________________________

NTEU University of Sydney Branch supports the campaign

More than 600 construction workers struck for nine weeks in August-October 2012 at the Queensland Children’s Hospital construction site in pursuit of a union agreement and equal pay for all workers on the site whatever subcontractors they work for.

The chief contractor, Abigroup, eventually conceded the workers’ just demands and the workers returned to work on 2 October.

This branch therefore:

  • Condemns Abigroup for its legal attack on community activist Bob Carnegie in relation to his role in this dispute
  • Believes that this legal attack is an attempt to intimidate every community activist who may in future wish to assist workers in obtaining justice.
  • Calls on the Gillard Government to repeal the clauses in the Fair Work legislation that allow employers to take out injunctions against trade union officials undertaking union duties during industrial disputes.
  • Publicise Bob Carnegie’s and the Trade Union Defence Committee’s campaign for Abigroup to drop the charges
  • Requests the NSW NTEU support this campaign and consider donating to the campaign.

Moved: Alma Torlakovic

Seconded: Laura Wilson

_______________________________________________________

NTEU RMIT Branch supports the campaign

We, the RMIT Branch Committee, stand in solidarity with and condemn the charges brought against MUA member Bob Carnegie.

Bob, stood in solidarity as a community activist beside building workers in the QLD Children’s Hospital dispute.

The RMIT NTEU Branch Committee supports the right for community activists to stand in solidarity with fellow workers and as such we stand in solidarity beside Bob Carnegie.

For further information please go to the web site below and sign the petition in support of Bob Carnegie in this struggle which affects everyone.
http://www.mua.org.au/news-story/3444

Moved: Liam Ward
Seconded: Dave Kinder

____________________________________________________

NTEU University of Queensland Branch supports the campaign

That the University of Queensland branch of the NTEU:

  • condemns Abigroup for mounting a serious legal attack on community activist Bob Carnegie in relation to his role in the recent 9-week dispute at the Queensland Children’s Hospital
  • offers its support to Bob Carnegie
  • sends a representative from the NTEU to the Defence campaign organising committee meeting next Monday 22 October
  • publicises Bob’s case and the QCH workers’ benefit concert on 27 October among NTEU members
  • supports fundraising for the QCH workers relief fund to help pay for the backlog of bills accumulated during the QCH dispute
  • calls on the Gillard Government to repeal the clauses in the Fair Work legislation that allow employers to take out injunctions against trade union officials and community activists assisting workers during industrial disputes.

Moved: Tom Bramble
Seconded: Andrew Bonnell
Passed unanimously

_______________________________________________________

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2 responses to “Campaign news

  1. Now is the time for all union leaders, to pledge their support, to organize a rally Australia wide, to fight against the anti worker laws, that Bob Carnegie stood up and confronted the system where others would not. It is imperative that Bob Carnegie, be supported in every way possible for the courage and leadership he has shown in this dispute. Throughout his entire lifetime Bob has shown on many occasions what a good leader, unionist, and campaigner for workers rights. So don’t talk, stand up to the plate and support Bob Carnegie.

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