Union protester charged with police assault
Summary: A union rally where one man was arrested held up morning commuters on Wednesday as hundreds of people took to the streets as part of a national day of action.....
The rally, which drew a crowd of more than 400 people to East Perth, led to roadblocks along Hay Street and a big police presence, causing headaches for drivers.
Police charged a 53-year-old Burns Beach man with disorderly behaviour at a public place and assaulting a public officer.
Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union assistant national secretary Dave Noonan defended the rally, saying it had largely been peaceful.
“We have the right to protest,” he said. “Disruption was pretty minimal.”
Mr Noonan said the rally highlighted concerns with working conditions on the Forrestfield-Airport rail link project.
The concerns included an allegation only three workers signed an enterprise bargaining agreement for project employees, under a legislative loophole.
Mr Noonan said the deal short-changed workers.
Premier Mark McGowan said while the contract and EBA had been signed before Labor came to office, the concerns were warranted.
“If (only three people signed the EBA) it’s unacceptable to me,” he said.
“You need to have the support of the majority of the workforce. I understand these issues are being examined currently.
“What we are assuring happens is that local people are trained in the skills around tunnel boring so future tunnel boring can employ more West Australians.”
When the rally moved to Federal Employment Minister Michaelia Cash’s West Perth office, union heavyweight Joe McDonald, who is due to retire tomorrow, told the crowd the CFMEU and the Maritime Union would be best served by merging.