Anyone driving along Bell St near the Amcor site at number 29 (between Albert Street and Chiffley Drive) late this afternoon (Saturday) would have seen signs calling for motorists to toot in support of the picket. Many did. The picket, numbering about 30 workers at the time, was fairly quiet, but this may not continue after the weekend. Since the previous notice was posted the IRC has issued an interim order instructing strikers to return to work immediately, and a letter from the company to employees is hardly conciliatory:
An interim order was issued … on Friday which ordered the AMWU and employees to stop industrial action and return to work. […] Although it is called an interim order this means that it operates until a final hearing … it is enforceable and penalties do apply for breaches… The order is binding on you as an employeee of Amcor and a breach of the order is serious.
Strikers are members of the AMWU, but the union’s response to the situation is interesting:
The company’s letter has a section headed “Why did the Federal court get involved?”, which explains amongst other things “The Company went to the Federal court to force the AMWU to halt the industrial action and to dismantle the picket at the site. The AMWU made a commitment to the FC that the industrial action and the picket [were] not authorised or being organised by the AMWU. Dave Oliver, State Secretary of the AMWU, has instructed all AMWU offiers and officials not to attend the Amcor Flexibles site at Preston. The AMWU gave an undertaking to the court that it would issue a letter to all delegates and employees instructing them to return to work… You are directed to return to work immediately. Work will be made available to all employees who wish to return and the company will ensure that employees have safe access …” The letter from Dave Oliver is brief: “On 3 August 2006 the Australian Industrial Relations Commission made orders to the employees of Amcor Flexibles of Preston to return to work. The AMWU urges you to comply with these orders and immediately return to work.”
Interestingly enough, it was widely reported recently in another context (for example by the Sydney Morning Herald) that a survey of stock market analysts by BRW Magazine had found that Amcor was the least admired company in Australia …