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Australia - more union action

10 September 1999

AWU boycotts Indonesian oil - 9 Sept 99 (2.39pm)

A boycott has been imposed on the processing of crude oil from Indonesia. The Australian Workers Union (AWU) says it has advised BP, Shell and Caltex not to place any orders for Indonesian oil because its members will refuse to process it. Indonesian oil accounts for about 30 per cent of Australia's crude oil imports.

Sam Wood, the assistant national secretary of the AWU, concedes petrol prices may rise as a result of the boycott. "I'd expect that there would be a possible increase in the cost of fuel but our view on that is that it's a small price to pay for what atrocities are occuring over there and to avoid what potentially could erupt into a war," Mr Wood said.

ABC News - 9 Sept 99 (3.16pm)

Trade union warns of increased industrial pressure

The New South Wales Labour Council will continue its industrial campaign to put pressure on the Indonesian Government, warning of further bans if there is no response.

Telecommunications, postal and garbage services to the Indonesian Embassy and Consulate will be affected. While supporting East Timorese hunger strikers outside the United Nations office in Sydney, the NSW Labour Council called on the Federal Governement to take more decisive action.

The council's Michael Costa says the Government has underestimated public sentiment. "I'm absolutely convinced that the Australian Government does not understand the feelings that the average Australian person has towards what's going on in East Timor," he said.

"I am convinced from talking to people and the reaction that we've had from the comments that we've made that Australians are 100 per cent behind the East Timorese.

"They expect their Government to do something about the situation, rather than just make feeble excuses about diplomatic nicety."

Radio Australia - World News, 10 Sept 99 (10.24am)

Anti Indonesian demo disrupts Sydney airport

Anti-Indonesia protesters have brought parts of Sydney international airport to a standstill as they blocked all departure gates. An estimated 600 union members and expatriate East Timorese blockaded both departure areas claiming Indonesian airline Garuda was trying to sneak passengers on a flight to Denpasar in Bali.

Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Energy Union state secretary, Peter McClelland, said while they apologised to other travellers, they had to send a loud and clear message to Indonesia.

CFMEU demonstrators also blocked Melbourne airport for a time and warned union action would escalate and spread to the Australian airline Qantas if it started flying Garuda passengers to Indonesia.

CEPU ceases services to Indonesian Embassy

Australia's communications workers' union, the CEPU, has taken industrial action to protest against the slaughter in East Timor.

The union has ceased all postal and telecommunications services to Garuda Airlines and to the Indonesian Embassy and consulates. CEPU spokesman Jim Claven says while the union will consider humanitarian exemptions to the ban on a case-by-case basis, something had to be done to express the horror of the situation.

"We're doing this to force the Indonesian Government and military to stop human rights abuses in East Timor and to implement the UN-sanctioned East Timorese decision in favour of independence," he said. "Until that occurs, these bans will be in place indefinitely."

*** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. ***

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