Nov 15, 2007

Labor welcomes end of Tristar dispute

Labor welcomes end of Tristar dispute




15 November 2007

Labor welcomes the end of the Tristar dispute.

After more than 18 months of uncertainty, the remaining three workers at the factory were made redundant yesterday.

These workers have endured 18 months of anxiety and uncertainty, of turning up to work each and every day and clocking on without anything to do. The human tragedy that has unfolded over these 18 months, and the long term toll this dispute has taken on the workers and their families, cannot be underestimated.

This outcome has been achieved because the workers at Tristar have stuck together. It has also been achieved thanks to the strong representation from their Union.

I pay tribute to all these workers, and to the AMWU and other unions who have consistently advocated on their behalf.

The Tristar dispute has highlighted how out of touch the Howard Government is when it comes to the notion of a fair go.

I first raised the Tristar dispute in Parliament on 9 August 2006, and raised it a further six times in Parliament over the course of these 18 months.

On 10 August 2006, I asked the Prime Minister for assistance to ensure the Tristar workers’ redundancy entitlements were protected. The Government’s response was to dismiss the workers’ concerns and to ramp up their anti union rhetoric.

The Tristar workers then came to Canberra by bus, and the Prime Minister refused to meet with them.

Joe Hockey cannot rewrite history. The Howard Government failed the Tristar workers, and its extreme WorkChoices laws have encouraged unscrupulous employers such as the employer at Tristar, to do what they pleased.

Only a Rudd Labor Government will restore balance in the workplace.

Labor will abolish WorkChoices and have an industrial relations system based on fairness and flexibility, protecting wages and conditions like overtime, penalty rates and holiday pay.

Only Labor can defeat John Howard.