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Thursday, 21 February 1980
Page: 204

Mr DRUMMOND (FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -Can the Minister for Industrial Relations inform the House of the current position of the storemen and packers strike which is causing so much loss to the Australian wool industry and damage to our reputation as a reliable exporter?

Mr STREET - I referred briefly to this strike a moment ago. The first thing I would like to say in relation to it is that the Federated Storemen and Packers Union is on record as saying that continued industrial action is not in the best interests of the industry. In the light of that statement, it is difficult to understand why storemen and packers in the Melbourne and Sydney wool stores have taken their destructive decision to continue the strike. The strike is in support of a wage claim which a Full Bench of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission considered excessive and unjustified. It is about time unions realised that they cannot have it both ways. On the one hand they want to pursue full indexation through the processes of the Commission. On the other we have here a major union pursuing a wage claim in excess of what the Full Bench has granted, and pursuing it by strike action. Unions and their members have to recognise that if they persist with these sorts of tactics they will eventually destroy any orderly system of wage fixation. I urge storemen and packers in the Melbourne and Sydney wool stores to follow the example of their colleagues in all other wool centres and return to work, in their own interests, in the interests of their families, and in the interests of the Australian wool industry and its customers. The industry has suffered major and needless damage through this irresponsible action.

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