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Site tension eases

TENSIONS on WA building sites have eased with the Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Energy Union concentrating its aggression on the Australian Workers Union.

Master Builders Association executive director Michael McLean said the building industry had enjoyed a period of relative stability after a fortnight of union unrest.

“The CFMEU’s been sidetracked somewhat by the AWU,” Mr McLean said.

“The situation is at the cross roads. This is one of the first major tests for the Government.”

Last week CFMEU members, led by union assistant secretary Joe McDonald, stopped work on the plant that had been proceeding under the agreement struck between principal contractor Clough Engineering and the AWU.

But the history of animosity between the two unions goes back further.

The two unions operate in very similar sectors.

A heated meeting between the two unions overseen by outgoing Unions WA secretary Tony Cooke seems to have done little to stop the feud.

AWU secretary Tim Daly said the meeting had achieved little.

“We may have a meeting with (CFMEU secretary) Kevin Reynolds and see if he can bring some sense to it all,” he said.

Mr Cooke said while he supported unions using whatever tactics were suitable to their industry to organise members, the CFMEU’s actions at Woodman Point had been “beyond the pail”.

Industrial Relations Minister John Kobelke has refused to take any action until he has had a chance to speak with Mr Reynolds who is on honeymoon.

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