CHAOS caused yesterday by CFMEU goons to “support” 55 sacked Carlton and United Breweries workers offers a timely reminder that wanton anarchy in the union movement must be smashed, and that union thugs do not run this country — whatever they think. A limited show of support was warranted, but gratuitous chaos unleashed in Melbourne and in Brisbane smacks of no more than an unjustifiable “lesson” of who unions believe is in charge.
As readers will have surmised, I am absolutely flat strap right now; we may be able to partially redress some of the issues we have missed over the weekend, but for now at least I wanted to make some very brief — and blunt — remarks about what the CFMEU got up to yesterday.
Supposedly “in solidarity” with 55 workers at CUB in Melbourne — who, according to reports, have been sacked and offered re-employment on contracts, and on lesser conditions than they enjoyed as employees — the unions, led unashamedly by the CFMEU, staged demonstrations in Melbourne and in Brisbane, causing gridlock in the Melbourne CBD yesterday as they marched on Parliament House in Spring Street and in Brisbane (1,750 kilometres away, for goodness sake).
Making declarations such as “I love a fucking revolution” and “We just love a fucking blue,” CFMEU officials led ragtag mobs through the commercial centres of both cities, ensuring each was thrown into chaos that lasted (in the case of Melbourne at least) for hours, and — aside from the fact CUB operates relatively small brewing operations south of Brisbane — with no justifiable reason for spreading their protest more than a thousand miles to the north.
I am obviously not party to the minutiae of the industrial dispute at the heart of yesterday’s demonstrations, but the unions’ version of it is enough to render judgement upon; if full-time employees have been fired, and offered re-employment of contractors, it is a matter for the employer to sort out — with the union directly involved, should the affected employees opt for a union to represent them.
But this in no way justifies two capital cities being thrown into disarray for hours over what is, on any reasonable assessment, a minor industrial dispute.
It is significant that these protests occurred in Victoria and Queensland, the states run by ALP governments so beholden to violent and militant unions for their very existence as to have no practical choice but to acquiesce to whatever those unions decree.
And on that basis, it is certainly interesting that no such tomfoolery was engaged in in Sydney.
So-called Industrial Relations ministers — former union cat’s paws implanted into state Parliaments — do not provide “leadership” by publicly siding with the unions over the company, but rather simply form additional prongs of a tawdry and one-sided multilateral attack aimed at demonising employers irrespective of any substantive case that might exist to justify their own side of the dispute.
It is significant, therefore, that ALP figures in Queensland — where none of the affected workers are even based — were gushing in their praise for the wildcat industrial action the unions took in their state.
And “wildcat” is the correct term: whilst Police were apparently notified in Queensland of the unions’ intentions, the actions that threw inner Brisbane into chaos were, by the unions’ own admission, an impromptu exercise.
Trades Hall filth will attempt to excuse yesterday’s actions as a “national issue,” and will claim the ramifications are important for every wage and salary earner in the country.
Yet Labor’s own industrial laws — pointedly, crafted at gunpoint and created from a union wish list — offer ample redress, at little or no cost, to employees who have been unfairly or unlawfully treated.
In the final analysis, yesterday’s actions can only be interpreted as a flexing of union muscle, led by the most insidiously criminal and wantonly violent outfit this side of the waterfront — the notorious CFMEU, which repeated tsunamis of successful court actions and a corresponding flood of multimillion dollar penalties seems unable to curb.
The plight of the CUB workers aside, the only acceptable response from government — any government — is that the CFMEU does not run this country, and secondary pickets and wildcat industrial actions ought to be met with the full force of the law.
It would serve the Turnbull government well, and its industrial relations ministers especially, to take up this argument with gusto this morning.
Regrettably, like so many of the key issues it faces, however, the Turnbull crowd will likely botch its handling of the matter or ignore it altogether.
If, that is, it manages to avoid a counterstrike with some new self-inflicted debacle of its own.
And meanwhile, the “grip” unions like the CFMEU think they are perpetuating over Australia will simply strengthen — with no moral, ethical or legal justification whatsoever.
As Margaret Thatcher — who knew a thing or two about managing unions — would say, it’s a funny old world.