The Guardian 7 September, 2005

Vicious attack by National Parts

Women workers on a peaceful picket line say they are being harassed after they had to dive for safety when a truck reversed at them. Auto component manufacturer National Parts has been slammed for its heavy-handed tactics on the lawful and peaceful picket line.

The workers at the Smithfield plant in Sydney are on wages as low as $14 an hour. They are surprised at the tactics of their employer as they stand up for wage justice.

"It is a peaceful picket, a legal picket, and the workers at National Parts have a right to strike for a better outcome from their employer", said Derrick Belan, NSW State Secretary of the National Union of Workers (NUW). "With the industrial relations changes around the corner many employers are champing at the bit to attack their workers."

There is concern for the safety of workers after the reckless actions of the company. "Last night a group of female workers had to dive for cover after a truck reversed at the picket line" said NUW organiser Justin Cody. "Additionally, we are aware that warehouse equipment has been dangerously modified to speed up productivity."

Workers are also puzzled as to why the company has called in local police to disrupt a peaceful picket line.

Mr Cody said that National Parts is basically using local police as private security. "This picket is a protected action under the Workplace Relations Act. Workers are doing nothing illegal. They are acting within their rights as workers and as citizens."

Local police have been given a delivery schedule by National Parts so they can escort each delivery with two police vehicles into the company’s premises. The NUW members on the picket line are refusing to disband until the management of National Parts agrees to negotiate a fair outcome.

National Parts is an automotive parts distribution company, which also has its own franchise network of automotive retail stores under the name Autopro.

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