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Noel Washington charges dropped—now make the ABCC history!

AntiABCC float at the Fremantle Festival
November 29, 2008

“The Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecution’s dropping of charges against Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union official Noel Washington is a victory for all workers and our rights at work. As a result the anti-worker Australian Building and Construction Commission has been seriously weakened”, Margarita Windisch, Socialist Alliance Acting National Trade Union coordinator, said today.

“Noel Washington’s courageous refusal to co-operate with the anti-worker ABCC despite the threat of a six-month jail sentence has been an inspiration to trade unionists. We all owe him a debt of gratitude”, she said.

The Socialist Alliance spokeperson said that the charges against the CFMEU official were clearly dropped because the Rudd government had to avoid the political embarrassment of tens of thousands of workers protesting the ABCC on December 2, only one week after the introduction in parliament of Labor’s new Fair Work Australia industrial relations bill.

Windisch continued: “However, the ABCC is still there violating building workers’ rights at work, and Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard have made it clear that they still want a ‘tough cop on the beat’ in the building industry. That means keeping the ABCC until 2010, and in some other form after that.

“But Noel Washington and the CFMEU have now shown that non-co-operation backed by a campaign of protest works. Now it is critical to keep up non-cooperation with the ABCC, and for the building industry unions to mobilise workers and the broader community until it is history.”

Windisch added: “It is good to see that, despite the dropping of the charges against Noel, the December 2 rallies will continue in some centres as protest actions against the ABCC [see details below].”

The Socialist Alliance spokesperson also urged all building workers to adopt Washington’s stance, and also to sign up to the “No co-operation with the ABCC” pledge being distributed by Geelong Trades Hall [and available at http://geelongtradeshall.blogspot.com ].

December 2 protests against the Australian Building and Construction Commission

Brisbane: 9.30 am, Queens Park, cnr George and Elizabeth Streets

Hobart: 10.00 am, ABCC, 142 Elizabeth Street

Melbourne: 10.00 am, ABCC, 553 St Kilda Road

Perth: 11.00 am, meet Solidarity Park, top of St George’s Terrace, marching to ABCC, 250 St Georges Terrace

Sydney: 11.45 am, Town Hall Square, marching to ABCC, 255 Pitt Street

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