Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Power strike in Victoria irresponsible



Download PDFDownload PDF

NEWS RELEASE FROM THE MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS THE HON. TONY STREET, M.R

POWER STRIKE I IN I VICTORIA IRRESPONSIBLE

"The Government condemns the deliberate industrial and economic sabotage caused by elements of the power workers in Victoria proceeding with a 48 hour stoppage" the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations said today.

"This strike shows an arrogant disregard for the interests of the community by certain sections of the trade union movement. This provocative action has clearly been brought about by a small militant minority, who are hell-bent on a course of action totally opposed to the best interests of rank and file trade unionists."

"This strike was allegedly called over the dismissal of 12 fitters who are now back at work, but the real issue is a 35 hour week. These unions have indicated quite clearly that they are not prepared to go to Arbitration. They are seeking a substantial reduction in working hours when there has been only a minimal increase in national productivity over the last few years. Working our way out of the current economic problems will severely test Australia's capacity using 40 hours out of every week — it would be almost impossible working only 35 hours."

"The intentions of the union leaders concerned can only be described as sinister. A t a time when all sections of our community recognise the need for restraint and responsibility, this group of industrial hooligans hold all Victorian industry to ransom, causing lost production of about $70 million, lost wages of over $12 million and over 300,000 employees to be denied the right to work."

"I have said it before and I say it again : this industrial stoppage is futile. It will grossly inconvenience the general public, but the people who will be hardest hit are the power workers and their fellow trade unionists. It is they who will be stood down for 2 days — it will be workers and their families who will suffer."

"I stress again that the cost to the community is enormous, both in economic and in human terms.

"Union leaders have a responsibility to the community and their members. The sort of behaviour involved in this 48 hour strike raises the whole question of the role of the union movement in our society."

"The public's tolerance is fast running out."

CANBERRA 65/76 25 August 1976