ASF-IWA Brisbane protest against 20% wage cuts

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Lumpen
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May 13 2012 14:17
ASF-IWA Brisbane protest against 20% wage cuts

ASF-IWA Brisbane branch will defend its members tomorrow, 14/5/2012. A 20% pay cut has been inflicted on its drivers by the bosses in cahoots with Fair Work Australia.

More info at anarchy.org.au and asf-iwa.

Seems like there's syndicalism in the air in Brisbane.

akai
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May 13 2012 14:57

You must mean "Shit Work Australia". This could be a good campaign and one where you could also get international solidarity.

syndicalist
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May 13 2012 18:49

Solidarity from Workers Solidarity Alliance comrades!

MT
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May 13 2012 19:25

good luck and keep us updated! wink

Skraeling
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May 14 2012 00:19
ASF-IWA wrote:
The majority of unionised workers who work for Domino’s franchisees fall under Australia’s worst excuse for a union, the SDA. The SDA’s national leader Joe de Bruyn is known for using his position in pushing a pro-Catholic, anti-sex agenda over the interests of its workers, leading to former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam to famously quip that “Joe de Bruyn is a Dutchman who hates dykes”.

What Mr De Bruyn is good at, by all reports, is establishing a cosy relationship with the captains of the retail industry. Hopefully he can find a way to use these powers to the benefit of the workers. Other retail workers might be better off joining a fighting union, like the ASF-IWA, than depending on the whims and machinations of a rightwing union like the SDA.

I'm curious as to why the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) seems so conservative and right-wing? Can any Australian posters tell me why?

In NZ, the retail unions (largely organising within a precarious, and disproportionately female, multi-ethnic and migrant sector) are 'social unions' who are against right wing 'corporate unions' who explicitly seek partnership with capital. Examples are the Service and Food Workers Union, Unite and First Union. I guess you could argue that they need to struggle to secure some benefits under today's tough neoliberal climate, and given how retail workers have copped it in the last 20-30 years. (Might be a peculiar NZ thing tho, I dunno about retail/shop/food workers' unions in the rest of the world).

So then how does the SDA have such a large membership if it does not struggle and its leader seems to have such contempt for members? If it was a paper union built up under an arbitration system in the post-WWII class compromise - which IIRC Bramble says it was -- then these type of unions tend to collapse under neoliberal conditions.

(yeah, I know 'social unions' are very similar to 'corporate unions' in the final analysis, subject to the same pressures, and act as enforcers of contracts etc etc). (no, ahem, comment on syndicalist unions as to whether they can escape this fate.)

akai
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May 14 2012 07:22

This might be interesting. There used to be a famous Dominos pizza boycott in the US. The former owner, Tom Monaghan, is a famous right-wing activist who was funding anti-abortion groups and had many other activities. If I am not mistaken, he also gave a lot of money for anti-Sandinistas in those days.

From what I know, more recently there was a new coalition to boycott the pizza chain due to poor working conditions:
http://boycottdominos.wordpress.com/
http://dfnyc.org/index.php/80-take-action/75-dominos-pizza-boycott-launched-join-it
http://www.nmass.org/nmass/justice/Boycott%20Dominos.htm

I don't think the campaign went far and don't know if it is still continuing, but might be interesting for you.

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Chilli Sauce
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May 14 2012 11:50
Quote:
In NZ, the retail unions (largely organising within a precarious, and disproportionately female, multi-ethnic and migrant sector) are 'social unions' who are against right wing 'corporate unions' who explicitly seek partnership with capital.

In both the US and the UK the two main retail unions--UFCW and USDAW, respectively--are probably the two worst, least militant, and most explicitly pro-social partnership unions in each country. FWIW.

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May 14 2012 13:47

The short history is the SDA has always been part of the rightwing/catholic/anticommunist split of the Labour movement and continues to be in lockstep with Labour Unity (the hard right of the ALP) and the DLP, past and present.

As you probably would know from a cursory Google search, the SDA are more interested in pushing absolutely bizarre policy with not much interest in their workers (their anti-discrimination policy is an anti-porn rant).

SDA wrote:
The SDA condemns all practices which seek to depict women in a sexual dimension only.

We therefore condemn:

  • Advertising which exploits the body image of women to sell goods and services, and which presents women as narrowly defined stereotypes or as lacking in intelligence;
  • any attempt to make physical attractiveness an important criterion in job selection and job retention;
  • any requirements by employers that female staff dress in a revealing manner, or in a way which causes embarrassment;
  • the tendency for some sections of the retail industry to use television, film and print media to depict women as sexual objects;
  • the availability for sale and hire of pornographic material which portrays women as sexual objects who can be dominated or exploited for sexual gratification. The perception of women which is promoted and reinforced by such material runs counter to the practice and philosophy of equal opportunity for women in employment and other spheres. It may also encourage violence against women and exacerbate the problem of sexual harassment.

    Such practices are degrading to women. By concentrating on just the sexual nature of females, they encourage very limited social perceptions of women. We further condemn the exploitation of men and children in, or as a result of, pornographic material.

They are absolutely fucking useless as a union. An uncharitable guess as to how they were able to grow is they pose zero threat, and I'm told have actually fought to lower wages to create opportunities for young people. roll eyes

Bosses are more than willing to let the SDA into the workplace, and they play a large roll in pacifying retail workers.

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Steven.
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May 14 2012 21:30
MT wrote:
good luck and keep us updated! ;)

this!

bastarx
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May 15 2012 00:44

A couple more points about the right wing nature of the SDA.

Some of the large retail chains at the very least strongly encourage and maybe even force their employees to join the SDA.

To quote myself from an old thread, http://libcom.org/forums/organise/nobody-wants-union :

Quote:
Quote:
(b) It is the policy of BIG W that all of its Associates are offered SDA membership. Accordingly BIG W undertakes to promote SDA membership at the point of recruitment by recommending SDA membership.

From the 2003 Big W contract (http://www.wagenet.gov.au/WageNet/Search/View.asp?docid=246543&query=&quickview=Y&page=6)

The SDA is the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, it's the largest union in Australia and probably the most reactionary. It's longtime leader, Joe de Bruyn, is a right-wing Catholic. In the past an SDA closed-shop was enforced at the big supermarkets by management in return for various concessions by the SDA.

And I'd also imagine that the transitory nature of retail jobs means that it would be considerably harder than in other industries to organise some sort of opposition caucus to vie for control of the union.

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May 15 2012 01:56

The pay rates for the drivers was a created bracket in 2001 when Silvio's Pizza turned into Domino's in Australia, the SDA basically wrestled the drivers from the TWU (Transport Workers Union) and reclassified them as 'delivery assistants', an enterprise agreement that expired in 2003.

There should have been negotiations over pay between SDA and Domino's for years since 2003, with no negotiations under Fair Work the enterprise agreement stands. Have these happened? Have the drivers been represented? We cannot seem to get this information from either Domino's or the SDA. It doesn't appear that anything has happened in this regard.

Domino's just spent 18 months and a fortune on legal fees to get the wages cut to the 2001 agreement between it and the SDA, as it was overpaying the drivers with their own confusion over the new Fair Work Australia levels they were told to comply too. It did this to cut the wages back to the old agreement. FWO (Fair Work Ombudsman) accepted this argument as accordingly the old agreement stands until terminated.

Domino's has done this knowing that all it will take is an F24 from the union or from the workers themselves. weird eh? why so confident Domino's?

http://www.fwa.gov.au/index.cfm?pagename=agreementsterminate

Quote:
"Under the Fair Work Act 2009, agreements continue to operate after their nominal expiry date until they are replaced or terminated by application to Fair Work Australia."

The SDA has been hassled to do as it should, it has given verbal agreement to a comrade that it will contest the wage cuts via an appeal to the Ombudsman, failing that submitting an F24, and also put on the spot about it last Friday as to publishing this on it's website.

No action in this regard can be seen as yet from the SDA.

If they do not do this, there are drivers that will put in the F24 for terminating the old agreement which will have the drivers wages reinstated immediately. Currently this is in process of gathering multiple drivers so that no one comrade is targeted with disappearing work on their roster. (It's a lot harder to sideline many drivers without it being obvious)

There will also be other actions already in the works in regard the SDA taking union dues without appearing to represent the interests of it's members.

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Chilli Sauce
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May 15 2012 08:36

Thanks axxs, please do keep us informed.

Quote:
Some of the large retail chains at the very least strongly encourage and maybe even force their employees to join the SDA.

Just like USDAW at Tesco's in the UK.

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axxs
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May 15 2012 23:46

In a meeting with Tim Van Schyndel, the Industrial Relations Advisor (Lawyer, I later found out) for Domino's Pizza Enterprises Australia, we were told (paraphrased):

Quote:
Domino's has been overpaying it's workers since the changes with Fair Work, this amounts to $13 million dollars* If we wanted too, we could recover this from the drivers, but we are nice enough not to do that.

* The 13 million refers to the franchises owned by DPE, and not independent franchise owners.

Can't remember the exact words but that was pretty much it, I actually was floored he would say that and asked him to repeat it, which he did, twice more through discussions.

I will keep people here informed as to the progress, thanks all for your comments and emails of support! smile

Skraeling
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May 16 2012 01:23

OK, SDA is shite then, it looks like it gets its membership from closed-shop agreements with capitalists in return for wage cuts/clawbacks in conditions, as people have pointed out. And in this case, it has not even negotiated with bosses, and so is not even being a proper union in this instance (i.e. as legal bargainers of labour power). So it's verging on being a company union then?

My question then is: why don't workers leave it? What i'm getting at is what's in it for workers? Obviously, all unions, even the most harmless ones, need to offer workers someting back in return for membership. do the SDA offer some services or legal protection in return for union membership? (in my experience, some conservative unions with high membership and resources are sometimes much better at supporting individual cases than supposedly militant unions with no resources and overworked and/or inexperienced organisers and delegates/stewards)

And Pete, yep, rank-and-filism is based on stable long-term jobs, and burrowing away for years. So yeah, union bureaucrats in a precarious sector are unlikely to be challenged from the rank and file.

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May 16 2012 07:24

Greetings all.

We have put it to the SDA in today's communique (a section of the email):

Quote:
We would like to know why our members and other drivers should hold off on immediately filing F24 proceedings as employees, to abandon the 2001 EBA.

There appears to be near 6 weeks of inaction by SDA as the representative union to get the workers wages reinstated.

No action by Monday from the SDA and we move ahead with filing an F24 as workers.

If you know of any Australian Domino's drivers they can contribute to the submissions, the more submissions the merrier.

Please put them in touch with the ASF, asap.

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Lumpen
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May 19 2012 06:57

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Diddy-D
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May 20 2012 06:32

The comments about the unions made above, say it all. Most TU leaders are a privileged bunch of clowns, who are so up the arse of capital, they may as well be ruling class themselves.

When these sell-out, treacherous duffers do not defend the workers, they are to be ousted, else disregarded. Who the fuck is a TU boss to tell the union members what to do? Answer: a fucking nobody.

The mass of TU members can take action themselves, and tell the moderate and traitor leaders to piss right off. Let the workers, who are many, ignore the few toffs at the top, and do it our own way yeah.

And good luck to the Australian comrades. May you have every success in your immediate campaigns, and may you ultimately succeed in bringing the bosses to their fucking knees.

With every good wish! smile pink black star

Jared
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May 20 2012 10:42

Nice flyer comrades surprised

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Chilli Sauce
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May 20 2012 11:08
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May you have every success in your immediate campaigns, and may you ultimately succeed in bringing the bosses to their fucking knees.

laugh out loud circle A laugh out loud

asn
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May 20 2012 13:59

The mass of TU members can take action themselves, and tell the moderate and traitor leaders to piss right off. Let the workers, who are many, ignore the few toffs at the top, and do it our own way yeah.

Quote:
But what about the repressive industrial legislation which exists in Australia which outlaws "illegal industrial action" and most industrial action in reality via imposing massive fines on workers? It is precisely in small work places and non strategic sectors where where this mailed fist would be used and has been used. The union hierarchy would also be sabotaging or discounting any call for industrial solidarity with these workers as occurred some years back with some CFMEU members in Western Australia who were hit with massive fines over a wildcat strike. There was no upswell of massive direct action by workers independent of the union hierarchy in their support to my knowledge.

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May 21 2012 18:27
asn wrote:

The mass of TU members can take action themselves, and tell the moderate and traitor leaders to piss right off. Let the workers, who are many, ignore the few toffs at the top, and do it our own way yeah.

Quote:
But what about the repressive industrial legislation which exists in Australia which outlaws "illegal industrial action" and most industrial action in reality via imposing massive fines on workers? It is precisely in small work places and non strategic sectors where where this mailed fist would be used and has been used. The union hierarchy would also be sabotaging or discounting any call for industrial solidarity with these workers as occurred some years back with some CFMEU members in Western Australia who were hit with massive fines over a wildcat strike. There was no upswell of massive direct action by workers independent of the union hierarchy in their support to my knowledge.

Point taken. So what do you suggest then? Sweet fuck all? You either fight. Or you don't. Mostly, methinks, people don't. That's understandable. But it's also why we're fucked.

There are bourgeois laws to curb TU activity. Now there's a surprise.

The National Union of Miners (NUM) in the UK, were up against the same. Their stike was declared 'illegal', according to bourgeois law. They were fighting not simply for better pay and conditions, but to keep pits open. If they had obeyed the law, and played dead, then all would have been lost for fucking sure. But they didn't. They fought. The police attacked them. They fought back. In the end, the bosses won, and many pits closed. Whole commuities, especially in Wales where the mine was the main source of employment, were devastated and ruined. Mass unemployment exists there still. People are destroyed and wrecked. But at least they fucking fought.

And the Poll Tax in the UK, in the early 1990s. It was against bourgeois law not to pay it. But guess what? People refused to pay. Some were processed through the courts. And many people were sent to prison.

And it was also against bourgeois law to participate in the Poll Tax riots. But guess what? People still demonstrated and rioted. The Police were running away from the rioters. It's illegal for rioters to chase police. It's against bourgeois law, ya know.

Of cos, people could have paid the Poll Tax, like good little boys and girls. And everybody could have stayed away from the Poll Tax demonstrations and riots. They could, you see, have kept within the bourgeois law.

And guess what? The Poll Tax legislation would probably still be on the Statute Book, and one of the most iniquitous taxes of all time - a head tax - that quite brazenly redistributed wealth from poor to rich, would still be smashing the fuck out of me and mine.

The bosses tried to ram the Poll Tax down our throats - and we rammed it the fuck back.

Now don't oppose fascists, and fight with them. It's illegal to fight fascists in the street. It's against bourgeois law, you know. You can be arrested for it. You might even be brought before a court. You might even be sent to prison. Oh dear, dear me.

You either make a stand, and take the consequences. Or you stay within bourgeois law like sheep.

If you think a workers democracy and a classeless society, is ever gonna come about without taking risks, and by staying within bourgeois law, then I have this to say to you: GOOD LUCK.

Cos you will surely need it pink black star

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May 22 2012 00:54

Word is an F24 was finally lodged on Friday by the SDA 2 days after our last communique putting things on the line as above.

This is a victory for the workers and the drivers wages should be reinstated over the next few weeks.

Actions will continue, there are other issues that need to be confronted such as what appears to be very high insurance premiums drivers have to pay, but one thing at a time and the wages are not reinstated as yet.

asn
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May 22 2012 10:16
Quote:

Point taken. So what do you suggest then? Sweet fuck all? You either fight. Or you don't. Mostly, methinks, people don't. That's understandable. But it's also why we're fucked

The point I made illustrates the importance of focusing limited resources and personnel on strategically important sectors which do you have the industrial muscle to defy repressive IR laws and also can win victories which can play a key role in slowing the tempo of the employer offensive. The victories achieved there can also change the morale situation in less strategic sectors and encourage militant activity. Such activity would probably involve a boring from within type strategy (given you would be looking at highly unionised sectors) and long term assistance for militants activity particularly putting out workplace papers, networking of militants, etc. See "Anarcho-syndicalist strategy for Australia Today" on the archive section of our web site www.rebelworker.org and if personnel and resources are focused on every thing under the sun, its impossible to conduct this long term work which is possibly likely to take decades of consistent, relentless work and change the situation. Otherwise the employer offensive will get much more intense and make things even more difficult.
Also via such a strategy it maybe possible to raise the morale and assist the militancy of tuckies - drawing them into a syndicalist direction. They could play a critical role in syndicalist union organising drives in these less strategic sectors such as cafes, bars department stores, etc. Today syndicalist organising drives in these sectors would be very very difficult and be a misapplication of limited resources, etc. However with truckies industrial solidarity via strikes, bans, blockades etc focused on busy periods such as Xmas, employers are likely to run up the white flag quite rapidly. It is precisely because of the support of truckies that the CNT in Spain in its heyday was able to organise successfully these peripheral sectors in key cities such as Barcelona.
Also via the above "boring from within" approach you could look at creating a bloc or alliance of "more grass roots friendly unions" - a transitional step toward mass syndicalist unionism. See Rebel Worker Special Supplement on Poland concerning the ZZZ union confederation in the interwar period on libcom for something like this.
What I have outlined above I think is a more realistic path to establishing mass syndicalist unionism rather than tiny sectlets being the nucleus of mass syndicalist union confederations via getting involved everything under the sun.

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May 23 2012 15:35

@asn. Thanks for your reply, comrade. I see where you are coming from, and small, practical steps make sense in the situation. And I will check that website out, rebelworker.

Cheers smile pink black star

akai
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May 23 2012 19:30

While I think that creating alliances with grassroots unions could be logical, for example in situations like current Poland with a high degree of union pluralism, the example of ZZZ is not correct since this started not as an alliance of grassroots unions, but a pro-regime, pro-Pilsudski formation, with little grassroots about it. Syndicalist ideas later became popular in parts of it, but it could not be called an alliance of grassroots unions by any means. Shortly after the syndicalists gained some influence btw, the police state supported a reformist split by repressing anarchists and syndicalists.

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May 27 2012 06:44

Just an update: The ASF (Melbourne) is continuing their support for their members. They were out the front of the Domino's in Carlton last night, and word on the street is they will go to another outlet next weekend.

kuro
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Jun 16 2012 00:51

Next Brisbane picket supporting ASF 7pm tonight 17th of June outside Dominoes at 46 James Street New Farm.

Also a plug upcoming events in brisbane

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Jun 18 2012 02:14

Posting above was wrong, it was the 16th. There will be another next weekend in both Brisbane and Melbourne and every weekend in the lead up to a hearing at FWA on the 16th of July. Albury/Wodonga, a very large regional hub, is now joining in.

A great turnout at Brisbane, with leaflets given to workers and members of BSN in force. There was one member of the IWW there, it would have been great to have the IWW show up, as well as to the weekly protests in Melbourne.

We have sent 2 emails to IWW Australia ROC requesting solidarity with our members struggle with absolutely no response whatsoever, it's a bit disappointing to be honest neutral Even a response would have been nice.

There is a write up that was front page on New Matilda the other day :

http://newmatilda.com/2012/06/15/anarchists-deliver-fair-pizza

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Jun 18 2012 03:58

Yes, that is disappointing. I know that here in Melbourne the ASF wrote to the local IWW years ago seeking a dialogue with regard to engaging in actions of mutual interest but were told in a reply that all enquiries should be directed to the IWWROC (then based in Sydney). It struck me as a bit odd as the point was to engage in local action.

Since then it's been pretty clear that the IWW in Melbourne follow an unofficial policy of ignoring the ASF, or just pretending it doesn't exist. I did see some IWW members at the Starbucks action organised by ASF Melbourne in 2008. This was done in response to the IWA's call for an international day of action in solidarity with a member of the CNT in Madrid. But it also was endorsed by the IWW in the USA who supporting their own member who also had been working at Starbucks and getting harassed. I presume that's why some wobblies did show up. The curious thing was there was not a single mention of it on the Australian IWW website. Maybe the moderator was a graduate of the Joe Stalin Airbrush School of History! Ha, ha!

But seriously, I think if you're prepared to support workers in reformist union as the IWW does it seems curious that they wouldn't officially support workers in revolutionary unions.

I have tried to make contact informally with the IWW Sydney and I'm told it was discussed at a meeting a couple of weeks ago but I haven't heard back. Is there anyone at Jura who wants to be involved in supporting this campaign?

Here in Melbourne the Melbourne Anarchist Club and the Workers Solidarity Network have been fantastic. We've even had regular support from the Occupy people.

Is there anyone in Sydney interested in starting an ASF affiliate in Sydney? We could certainly do with some support there.

Aunty Jack
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Jun 23 2012 01:53

A picket took place in Wollongong, on the NSW South Coast, last night (Friday). A comrade's report is below:

7 people attended the picket tonight. Everything went well and we got a positive reception from customers for about one hour until the owner showed up. He told us none of the drivers' pay had been cut before going in to the store. This was complete bullshit because we'd just talked to a driver at the store who'd had his pay cut by "a couple of dollars" per hour.

Not long afterwards Constable Plod and Constable Surly showed up and after going in and speaking to the owner for several minutes they came out and acted as instructed by hassling us, getting in our faces and telling us to move on down the street. Con Surly wrongly claimed that it was illegal to film him and confiscated a picketers phone to delete the footage but was too thick to work out how. We stood our ground so Con Surly roughly grabbed and arrested one of our number. Surly dragged him off and took down his details then released him on the spot without charge.

We maintained our presence outside the store so Plod and Surly backed off and radioed for back up. They hung around for about 15 mins doing a good job of maintaining our picket and freaking the shit out of customers/potential customers. Eventually back up came in the form of their commanding officer, Detective Senior Constable Ham. We eventually moved down the road and continued our picket for about another half hour. Very positive response from the public, some solid support from the drivers but also mixed reactions from some of the younger staff. All in all a pretty solid night's agitating.

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Lumpen
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Jun 23 2012 09:52

That's really great to hear!