Mass Meeting of Building Workers – 8 October

A huge gathering of building workers – variously reported in the media as 8 or 10 thousand – at Melbourne’s Festival Hall debated – if that is the word, because it would have been hard to hear a voice raised against – a draft resolution condemning the Howard Government’s attacks on unionism in the industry. The resolution was passed unanimously, and there was no mistaking the determined and angry mood of those present.

From the resolution:

This mass meeting of Victorian building and construction workers rejects the Howard Government’s anti-worker industrial relations agenda as a declaration of war on trade unionists in Australia.

This meeting condemns the proposed legislation as a blatant and transparent attempt to criminalize legitimate union activity. It targets our hard won wages and conditions.

This meeting notes that if the employer organisations … support these attacks then we place them on notice that they will have to wear the consequences for such political interference in our industry.
Finally, the meeting calls on the wider union movement and the entire Australian community to be informed of the dangerous precedent that will be set if the Federal Government’s building industry laws are passed and therefor calls for the building of a wider trade union defence campaign as soon as possible. As a starting point to this campaign this mass meeting endorses the VTHC planned all unions anti-Howard Government rally for Tuesday 11th November 2003, 10.00am assembling outside Trades Hall.

View of part of assembly

During the debate

View over packed hall

Just before the vote