As the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union continues its campaign to block building sites in Melbourne, workers of the company have made a desperate plea to the union to end the blockade.
In an open letter addressed to ‘all Victorians, Building Workers and Union Members’, workers at the Myer Emporium site in Melbourne say they are ‘fed up’ with the union representing their own needs at the expense of the wishes of Grocon workers. The letter was posted on the Grocon website on September 5.
“Grocon employees are fed up and disappointed with the union representing their own needs and agendas against, over and beyond Grocon employees’ wishes” the letter states.
“We have no argument with our employer, and do not support the blockades against our workplace. All we want is to be able to go to work and be allowed to provide for our families and loved ones”.
In their letter, staff claim that they have been unfairly singled out for abuse, threats and intimidation ‘by the very organisation we pay our union fees to’ in an argument which ís ‘ not of our doing’.
“We only ask that we be allowed the same basic rights our union leadership enjoy, to be free to access our places of work without the lies, threats and abuse, and without fear of reprisals”.
The letter, signed ‘Grocon employees at Myer Emporium site’ was not written at the request of Grocon management, it says.
“We, the employees, have asked the company to publish it and put it on our website”.
“The actions towards Grocon employees have damaged the industry as a whole, and have hurt many people directly and indirectly. Please respect our workplace, our work mates, and our requests.
“We and our families deserve nothing less”.
Such pleas seem unlikely to be heeded by the union. In a counter open letter to Grocon employees, the CFMEU claims that Grocon is waging a war against unions, and has called on them (Grocon employees) not to allow themselves to be used as Danial Grollo’s ‘cannon fodder’.
The latest developments come as Victorian Police Minister Peter Ryan has given his approval for police to move in and break up CFMEU protests.
Blockades of the Myer Emporium site in Melbourne have been ongoing in recent weeks, with the union and the company at loggerheads over issues such as access to safety and union representatives, the right to wear union stickers on hard hats and the right to post union posters in lunch sheds.