BWI Stands with CFMEU and Jason O’Mara amidst false charges
The Building and Wood Workers International (BWI), representing 12 million workers from 351 trade union organisations in 127 countries, stands solidly behind the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Secretary Jason O’Mara against the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) wild accusations that they breached anti price fixing/cartel provisions of the country’s Consumer and Competition Act.
The ACCC’s allegations, which were made as a response to CFMEU and O’Mara’s efforts to negotiate sector agreements for scaffolders, steel fixers and painters in the Canberra building industry, are baseless and politically motivated. These false charges, which carry massive fines and up to ten years imprisonment, are clear attempts to harass trade unionists through the misapplication of the country’s competition law to undermine collective bargaining rights long guaranteed by Australian laws and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards.
We call on the Australian government to stop legally harassing labour leaders who were simply exercising their rights to promote and secure the welfare of their fellow workers. We believe that this is a gross disservice to workers and an awful waste of taxpayers’ money which could have been used otherwise to contribute in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amidst a raging pandemic, what Australian workers need is more protection, not persecution.