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Issue # 1426      2 September 2009

IR policy launch and fundraiser

On Wednesday August 26 the Western Australian Branch of the Communist Party of Australia, held a function and fundraiser for the launch of the party’s Industrial Relations Policy and the 457 visa workers sacked by Fletchers International in Albany.

The speakers were Graeme Haynes, WA Secretary of the Australian Meat Industry Employees Union, Joel Espartero one of the sacked 457 workers, David Fox WA Branch Chairman of the Communist Party of Australia and chairing the discussion, Andrew Hayward WA Vice Chairman of the Communist Party.

Also visiting the function was the Cuban Consul, Abelargo Curbelo.

Graeme talked about how the workers holding 457 visas were constantly harassed and the company’s attitude towards its workers. If they lost their jobs they had 28 days to look for another sponsor or they would have to return to the Philippines. Although these workers are guaranteed certain rights under the law, in reality their situation is different. The company’s attitude is that it can do anything it likes regardless of the law.

However, he did have some good news: that the Philipino workers have been employed in South Australia and have had their visas extended.

Joel Espartero, one of the visa workers, told his story of how they were all mistreated by Fletchers, but of the good news of receiving employment elsewhere.

David Fox talked on the historical role that communists have played in the trade union movement and on the Party’s IR policy. He said this is a good starting point to work from, and further explained the need to actively work with others from trade unions, other parties such as the Greens, the left and progressive elements in the ALP, community groups and other working class organisations.

There was much discussion on the plight of 457 visa workers and the need to have a united front of the working class and its allies to struggle for change.

About $160 was raised for the visa workers. Overall a good event.

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