Friday, July 06, 2007

Joe McDonald, the ALP and Building Safety

Part of a concrete slab was reported to have fallen up to 16 stories from a QCon construction site yesterday. It was the same site where CFMEU official Joe McDonald was filmed having a rant, and trying to bully workplace officials.

Mr McDonald has said that this safety incident, which could have killed someone had it hit them, justifies his stance and behaviour as it was filmed and released to the media. Following its release, ALP Federal Leader Kevin Rudd moved to have Mr McDonald expelled from the ALP, because such stand-over, bully-boy behaviours were inappropriate.

They are inappropriate, and safety concerns do not justify violent behaviours that attempt to intimidate. However, safety concerns DO justify action on the part of employees and unions. The building industry in Australia has had a long history of sometimes violent disputes and corruption, from both employers and unions. There have been Royal Commissions. The history of some construction companies wanting work done as quickly as possible, as cheap as possible, and by cutting as many corners as possible was historically resisted by unions, and unionists, whose political agenda was extreme left wing. It's a history that the industry is still grappling with - from both sides.

Workplace safety is not something to take lightly, and responsibility rests with both employers and employees. Both parties must meet, and cooperate in the interests of their employees, union members. And their insurance companies and their own profits.

Meanwhile, the ALP still has work to do to silence those union officials with their own personal agendas - to be seen to be able to control or manipulate Kevin Rudd. They are personal agendas abd behaviours that are relics from the 1950s and 1960s. To change decades-old cultures on both sides will take a revolution. A non-violent one, we hope.

The Analyst