The Guardian 6 July, 2005

Liberal confused by his party’s policy

The federal MP for the NSW seat of Paterson, Bob Baldwin, has told locked out Boeing workers that their problems should be solved by the industrial umpire, despite his own government having already outlawed that avenue. The workers say they’d be more than happy to go to arbitration, but under the laws introduced by Baldwin’s government it remains up to Boeing, rather than the workers or the industrial umpire.

The Boeing employees have already been to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) three times but under the Workplace Relations Act, the AIRC’s hands are tied until the employer applies to terminate the bargaining period.

Facing a 43-hour working week, no overtime and no leave loading on individual contracts, Boeing employees at Williamstown RAAF base remain outside the gates in pursuit of a collective agreement.

Gonzalo Sanjuan, a 23 year-old immigrant from Chile, walked out the gate to join the picketers after reaching his three-month probationary period with Boeing, saying the issue was a "matter of principle".

More disturbing for the 42 workers has been the arrival of 17 Boeing scabs from RAAF Amberley in Queensland. "Boeing are slowly exposing the reality of individual contracts", said John Boyd from the picket line. "They are pitting mate against mate.

"This is one State of Origin we didn’t want to see."

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