Many march in protest

MORE than 1500 barracking Rockhampton workers hit the streets yesterday, decrying the Federal Government's proposed industrial relations shake-up.

The vocal crowd was larger than anticipated and mimicked rallying scenes witnessed in major Australian cities as part of the union movement's National Week of Action.

"Two-thousand workers organised at short notice, that's fantastic and that's a sign of things to come,'' Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union organiser John Sutton said when addressing the crowd at the City Hall grounds.

If the new legislation occurred it would undermine workers' rights, the award system and severely impact on the living standards of Australian families, he said.

"No way are we going to bow to John Howard and his class politics.''

Queensland Council of Trade Unions Rockhampton president Glenda Ross told the crowd current labour laws were an "Australian way of life, and we need to protect that''.

"We know what we want, we know what we need. We don't need reforms, we're quite happy with what we've got.''

Accompanied by the continual cry of "Workers united will never be defeated'', Ms Ross said the fight to stave off changes would be ongoing and required consolidation.

A weekend of action was being organised for July 30 and 31, she said.

Electrical Trade Union State organiser Craig Giddins said the notion that some workers would not be disadvantaged by the legislative changes was false.

"Everyone's in trouble ... not a lot of people know how it's going to affect them,'' he said.

"It really does seem to be a lot of cover-up from the Federal Government ? there's not a lot of information out there.



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