We'll stand by you

It is most likely that you will be reading and hearing a lot about our union in the press. Stories that are probably not very flattering based on rumour and hearsay beaten up as news.

It is clear to any objective observer that a concerted attack on the union has been going on for some time. Anyone with an axe to grind seems to have no trouble in getting an airing.

This is to be expected given that the Abbott Government is gearing up to re establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission. They need to create as much noise and panic about the CFMEU in order to justify a renewed attack on construction workers.

The truth is, that while Abbott, Eric Abetz and co are lighting fires about the union everywhere, this is not about the CFMEU.

This is about the rights of building workers, about their hard won wages and conditions, about their safety on site.

The laws they are planning to introduce will discriminate against one sector of the population: construction workers. The Federal Government wants you to have less rights and for employers to have more power.

This is their agenda, plain and simple.

But they can’t say that outright so they come after the union instead, throwing up all sorts of allegations time after time.

We'll fight
I’m here to tell you that we are not intimidated by this nonsense. My job as secretary of this union is to defend your rights, to fight for improvements in your wages and conditions and to do everything that I can to ensure that your workplace is safe.

This is my job and this is why you pay your union dues. Your health and wellbeing are what underpins the work our officials do every day.

The attacks from the Government – and they will only increase – are not about me. They are about you.

And that’s why we are opposed to them and will do everything we can to keep fighting for you and your rights.

I wish all shop stewards and members a safe festive season and look forward to working with you again in 2014.

John Setka