4050WA ETU sackings
- Jan 13, 2004By Bob Gould
This short news item from the January 13 "Australian" is a basically
accurate account of the current situation in the WA ETU, although it
puts the Murdoch press's conservative spin on these developments.
A few facts need to be added. The three sacked union officials, who
are taking the action in the federal court for reinstatement in their
jobs, are left-wingers.
The election vote for the secretary's position indicated that the two
factions were almost equally balanced, because the incumbent leftist
Bill Game won by four votes. Immediately after the elections,
simultaneously with sacking the three organisers from the rival
faction, the new majority on the state council closed down the small
but courageous union paper edited by Game, the previous two issues of
which had vigorously opposed the Iraq war and defended asylum
seekers, which is no small thing in a craft union in WA.
My information is that the council voted to start a new publication,
but, so far, that hasn't appeared.
The painful fact is that the coalition that sacked the three leftist
organisers and closed down the radical union journal includes a
leading member of the DSP in WA.
Battle for control of key union
A bitter battle is being fought for control of Western Australia's
electricians' union as three of its former organisers sue the
organisation for unfair dismissal.
Former advocate Avon Lovell and former organisers Shane O'Byrne and
Carl Young are claiming unfair dismissal by the electrical division
of the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union last September.
While the brawl is on public show in the case before the West
Australian Industrial Relations Commission, the struggle has wider
implications for control of the Labor Party.
The CEPU is not affiliated with the ALP, but a faction that took
control of the union last September has strong Labor ties. If it
returned to the ALP, it would probably join the Centre faction of ALP
powerbroker and Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union boss
Kevin Reynolds. Mr Reynolds is suspected of supporting a challenge to
CEPU state secretary Bill Game at the September election, who is
believed to have backed Reynolds opponents at a CFMEU ballot a year
Both men survived the challenges, but Mr Game is now a lame duck
leader after his opponents gained control of the CEPU's governing
After the September ballot, the newly elected state council
terminated the employment of three of Mr Game's supporters Mr
Lovell, Mr O'Byrne and Mr Young. All are now suing the CEPU for
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