WORKERS AT Boeing subsidiary Hawker de Havilland in Port Melbourne have successfully defied anti-strike laws to take action in defence of a sacked workmate.

After three weeks on strike, 700 workers at the site returned to work after a mass meeting at the end of April. A report from the business section of The Age newspaper said “it felt like a return to the 1970s as hundreds of striking workers manned the picket lines at Boeing’s factory at Fishermans Bend.”

Boeing sacked team leader and AMWU member Allan Bloom and suspended another employee over “timekeeping irregularities”. Workers had previously raised complaints about problems with the company’s “big brother” time keeping system but the company had refused to address them.

The company sacked Bloom without using the dispute settlement procedure in the enterprise bargaining agreement. They could break the law without penalty, but when workers took action to support their workmate, they faced massive fines. The company obtained court orders threatening them with millions of dollars in individual fines.

Kevin Rudd has no intention of changing this. While a majority of Australians voted against Howard’s Workchoices laws at the federal election, he

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