Response to media allegations

I am proud to lead a union with a history of standing up for building workers. The fight for the best wages and conditions for members is what drives every one of our officials.

I have made it very clear that there is no place for officials who abuse their positions in this union, or any other. There is no place for officials who engage in criminal or corrupt behaviour.

I will take swift action against any official found to have breached the union’s code of conduct.

Nevertheless, it is deeply concerning that allegations made against the union were made by people with no credibility and with chequered histories.

Individuals holding a grudge against the CFMEU have been given the opportunity to have a shot at us, and their wild stories have been reported as facts.

Anyone who has any allegations or evidence of illegal activity – whether it involves employers, union officials or workers - should go to the police. It is not the role of the CFMEU to conduct investigations into alleged illegal activity in the construction industry.

Our job is to represent workers and to fight hard for your pay and conditions.

It’s no accident that these media stories are occurring at the same time the Abbott Government has announced a Royal Commission into unions.
Through our previous experience with the Cole Royal Commission in the early 2000s, there were plenty of stories doing the rounds about illegal activity in the industry.

Out of the Cole Royal Commission, we got the ABCC which took away workers’ rights. Despite the mud that was thrown at the union, no official was ever charged with an offence based on the Commission’s findings.

History is repeating itself as the Abbott Government prepares an attack on workers’ rights, pay and entitlements – not just in our industry, but everywhere.
Abbott has vilified and slandered workers at SPC Ardmona and ispreparing to take away penalty rates from people, many of whom work in low paid jobs.

We are about to enter into negotiations for the next EBA. I intend to fight, as I have always done, to improve your wages and conditions, whatever the challenge.

With your support, we will defend our hard won standards and prevent Abbott from taking us back to the Dark Ages.

John Setka