The Guardian September 6, 2000


First victories to unions in Victoria's Campaign 2000

by Peter Mac

Unions involved in Victoria's "Campaign 2000" have scored initial 
victories, after a number of effective strike actions were taken in the 
automotive and wine-producing industries.

As a result of one action, workers at Southcorp's Karadoc Winery in 
Victoria have now secured an average 18 percent pay rise to be delivered 
over three years, with 55 casual workers granted permanent status, and the 
use of individual building contracts at the site eliminated.

The campaign is a "pattern bargaining" test case aimed at securing 
consistency and improvements in pay and conditions for workers in a range 
of equivalent occupations.

In the major area of dispute, motor manufacturer Ford Australia was forced 
to cease production after strike action was taken at the plant of a major 
parts supplier.

The Australian Industry Group of companies had previously applied to the 
Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) to have the bargaining periods of 
about 70 companies affected by the dispute terminated.

The Commission granted this application with regard to only 15 of the 
companies involved, but has given further consideration to a wider test 
case against any further "Campaign 2000" actions.

The campaign has wide ranging implications for the resolution of industrial 
disputes in Australia, as it effectively challenges the Howard Government's 
industrial relations policies, which seek to alienate workers from their 
unions and to isolate workers in one workplace from those in another.

As expected, the Federal Government has now sought to intervene directly in 
the dispute with legislation to ban concerted strike action in support of 
"pattern" workplace claims.

The Bill is expected to be debated in the Senate later this week.

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