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Riot police break picket line

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12 June, 2002BHP Steel called on riot police on horseback to break a union picket line at its Western Port factory, Australia.

AUSTRALIA: BHP Steel called on riot police on horseback to break a union picket line at its Western Port factory in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday June 11. About 30 steel workers were confronted by 100 police including 12 mounted police, with one worker receiving minor injuries during the incident. Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (AMWU), Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) -- both IMF affiliates - and the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) had set up the picket line three weeks ago. The picket prevented the delivery of steel to car manufacturers and was in protest of BHP Steel's attempts to sack maintenance workers and replace them with contractors at the Western Port facility. Car manufacturers had warned that production could shut down within a week if steel supplies did not resume. The police raid at Western Port enabled BHP Steel to move about 20 trucks of steel. Update June 14, 2002:
The dispute at BHP Western Port has been resolved with the AMWU and CEPU negotiating major victory in their campaign to achieve improved job security for BHP workers. The AMWU believes the agreement is a major step forward in the quest to establish workers rights to intervene in issues affecting their job security. The key principles of outsourcing, casuals, contractors, and the maintenance review have all been resolved in favour of the workers. Ian Thomas, AMWU delegate, thanked the local community, members and the AMWU for their support and solidarity. He said that members were grateful for the expressions of support they received via email from all over Australia and a number from around the world.