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CFMEU backs new laws protecting forestry workers

CFMEU, the union representing timber and forestry workers, supports new laws introduced by the Victorian Government to protect them from dangerous and ill-targeted workplace invasions. Source: Timberbiz

The union has been campaigning for stronger deterrents to dangerous protest activity in permitted Timber Harvesting Safety Zones following the escalation of such activity targeting workers in the forest in recent years.

“People have a right to peacefully protest but they should not target timber workers. All workers have the right to go to work each day and do their job without having their health and safety compromised by dangerous activity,” Michael O’Connor, CFMEU National Secretary, Manufacturing, said.

“The flawed logic that we should wait for a death or serious injury of a worker or protestor before we take action to better deter misconduct should hold no weight with serious legislators.”

The increased penalties and deterrent powers associated with already prohibited misconduct in Timber Harvesting Safety Zones (small areas which have been allocated by the State for timber production) as outlined in the proposed new laws are fully supported by the union.

Timber workers have witnessed shocking tactics where workplace invaders hide in undergrowth and leap out in front of operating machinery, endangering themselves and workers, children being brought into logging areas, and steel spikes recklessly erected on forestry roads.

Intimidation tactics experienced by timber workers have included verbal abuse directed at small crews of two or three workers, sometimes descending into emotional abuse with threats of violence and self-harm.

“These proposed laws will provide protection for those most impacted by workplace invasions – the workers in the timber industry,” Mr O’Connor said.