Message from Bill Oliver
Stand proudly together in the tough times ahead
After 26 years with the CFMEU, it is time for me to hang up my hard hat.
I came on board with the Union in 1986, when the industrial scene looked very different. The two main unions in the building industry were fighting each other due to the deregistration of the BLF.
It wasn’t enough that we were having blues on the job to try and improve pay and conditions for workers; we were also having blues among ourselves, which was ultimately destructive.
Only by joining forces and uniting for the cause of workers in the industry have we been able to build a strong Union that delivers for its members.
We won the 36-hour week, and our EBAs have gone from strength to strength, delivering stellar pay rises and conditions that are second to none in the country.
Our strong standing among our members and our industrial strength in the union movement have made us a target for the conservative forces in government, business and the media. They want to shoot us down, weaken our power, and ultimately prevent us from doing our job.
Since late 2010, the election of the Baillieu Government in Victoria has seen these attacks escalate. The usual unfounded nonsense that we heard ten years back from the Cole Royal Commission – that we are all thugs engaging in criminal activity – has surfaced again.
The tabloid newspapers like the Herald Sun seem to revel in publishing unsubstantiated rumours and gossip. They publish our rates of pay and conditions that make up our EBA as if they are something to be ashamed of, as if they were gained in some kind of underhand way.
The truth, however is this: our members are proud of their Union and proud of our EBAs, which have been achieved in line with Fair Work Australia’s rules. Other workers envy our pay and conditions, and as a union, we are among the first to show solidarity and support to workers here and internationally.
In bidding you farewell, I encourage you all to continue to stand together in the tough times ahead, in order to withstand the attacks and to continue to fight for your rights.
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