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scabby the rat

Big let-down for Scabby the Rat

Scabby the Rat is perhaps best known nationally for his appearances at the picket line outside the Carlton and United Breweries site in Victoria during the 2016 dispute over that company’s attempt to use cheap contract labour to undermine the conditions of existing workers. 

Now the courts have moved against Scabby, ordering that he be deflated and removed from a picket line at Esso’s Longford site where unions are opposing a similar move. 

Australian Workers Union, the Australian Maintenance Workers Union and the Electrical Trades Union have been using Scabby and other picket signs to oppose Esso’s decision to change contractors in an attempt to reduce wages and conditions. 

The new contractor successfully argued in the Federal Court that Scabby was being used to “coerce” employees not to work and to engage in anti-competitive conduct that has caused "substantial loss" to the business.

Before Scabby was "unplugged" protesters held a minute's silence and played the last post as he was deflated. Unions are now reportedly considering other forms of action, including sending a flotilla of “slave boats” down to the Esso site.

Meanwhile, it should be noted that in the USA, scarcely a beacon of labour movement rights, Scabby’s cousins have been successfully protected from deflation by freedom of speech laws. 

Source: Workplace Express, AFR.

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