Victoria Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations Richard Dalla-Riva
Picket Line Violence Unacceptable
Victor P Taffa
The violence and intimidation on a picket line at a Melbourne poultry plant is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated, Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations Richard Dalla-Riva said today.
Mr. Dalla-Riva joined the federal Opposition in urging an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman into the actions of union protesters outside the Laverton plant.
“Action in support of industrial claims is a right and a privilege under Australian law but violence and lawlessness, including intimidation of other workers, should be condemned by employers and unions alike.” Mr. Dalla-Riva said.
“It is deeply regrettable that the current industrial relations framework appears to be encouraging some to adopt a more aggressive and militant approach to workplace relations.”
Mr. Dalla-Riva said the Victorian Coalition Government was concerned about the impact of unlawful behaviour on Victorian work sites. With this in mind, the government had ordered a draft of new industrial relations guidelines for the building and construction industry.
The revised guidelines will assist industry to achieve behavioural change on Victorian building sites, particularly in relation to compliance with the law, the cessation of practices designed to circumvent legal obligations, the prompt termination of unlawful industrial action, and stronger protection of freedom of association.
The Victorian Government intervened successfully at Fair Work Australia to terminate immediately the Qantas dispute, after prolonged industrial action at the airline had posed a significant and direct threat to industries and major events upon which the jobs of thousands of Victorians depended.
Mr. Dalla-Riva said he had written twice to his federal counterpart, Senator Chris Evans, in recent months, calling for a more balanced, commonsense approach to workplace relations.
“The Gillard Government must pay greater heed to increasing concern across industry about the impact of aspects of the Fair Work Act 2009 on productivity and profitability and, more basically, business viability in a competitive global environment.” Mr. Dalla-Riva said.
“If our shared priorities are investment, jobs and a robust economy, the Commonwealth must take more seriously widespread community feedback about the broad impacts of the Fair Work Act 2009.”