Professor Ron McCallum comments on proposed industrial action during World Youth Day

8 July 2008

Professor Ron McCallum of the Sydney Law School commented on the proposed industrial action by the New South Wales Branch of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union during World Youth Day in Sydney next week in today's Sydney Morning Herald.

The article aserts that up to 200,000 people intending to see the Pope next Thursday, 17th July 2008, could be affected, with hundreds and thousands of commuters delayed if the RTBU issued a strike on that day.

The State Government is exploring its options, which include invoking the Essential Services Act, using the Howard Government's Workplace Relations Act or enlisting the Australian Industrial Relations Commission to ask the Union to call off the strike.

The article suggests that if all these avenues fail, the State Government could appeal to the Federal Workplace Relations Minister, Julia Gillard, and her capacity to end a union's period of "protected" industrial action if it affects "the welfare of the state or the economy."

However, Professor McCallum believes it is unlikely that Ms. Gillard would intervene in such a "one-day action" as her power is designed to cover "protracted strikes."

The Union threatens to strike after the Iemma Government turned down its 5 per cent pay rise demand.

To view the entire article - Stations of the very cross

Professor Ron McCallum was Dean of the Sydney Law School between 2002 and 2007 and is the first totally blind person to have been appointed to a full professorship in any field at any university in Australia or New Zealand.

Contact: Greg Sherington

Phone: +61 2 9351 0202

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