Hardie-style asbestos campaigns ‘much tougher under new IR laws’ - ACTU

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Hardie-style asbestos campaigns ‘much tougher under new IR laws’ - ACTU

The successful campaign to force James Hardie to meets its asbestos compensation obligations would be much harder to run under the Federal Government’s new IR laws, according to the ACTU.

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The successful campaign to force James Hardie to meets its asbestos compensation obligations would be much harder to run under the Federal Government’s new IR laws, according to the ACTU.

 

ACTU Secretary Greg Combet said unions and workers who campaigned to achieve justice and proper compensation rights for James Hardie asbestos victims could be subject to crippling fines and damages for similar campaigns in the future under the Howard Government’s new industrial relations laws.

 

Crackdown on industrial action

James Hardie last week signed a legally binding agreement which will provide more than $4.5 billion in compensation funding for Australian asbestos victims – provided Treasurer Peter Costello makes the payments tax deductible.

 

‘In partnership with asbestos victims groups Australian unions and union members have played a leading role in bringing James Hardie to account and achieving justice for asbestos victims and their families,’ Combet said.

 

‘But the Federal Government’s new IR laws and their repressive crackdown on the rights of workers and unions will mean that campaigns like this will be much more difficult in the future.

 

‘Many hundreds of thousands of Australian workers, especially those in the building and construction industry, have campaigned relentlessly to achieve this outcome from James Hardie. But in the future workers and unions who run these types of campaigns could be subject to crippling fines, damages and prosecution from the Federal Government.

 

‘Under the new IR laws workers who support campaigns like the one for James Hardie asbestos victims run the risk of being prosecuted and fined by the Federal Government and its Building Industry Task Force.’

 

Combet said individual workers in the building and construction industry could face fines of up to $33,000 from the Government for attending a rally like those held to support the victims of James Hardie asbestos.

 

‘The Government’s IR laws are an attack on the democratic rights of Australian workers,’ he said.

 

‘While unions will not be intimidated by the Government’s new laws and will continue to stand up for justice and fight for the rights of working Australians, it is also important that the Australian public understands just how repressive these new IR laws will be.’

 

 

Related 

 

‘Give Hardie tax break on asbestos compo’, Costello urged

 

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