Australia’s industrial laws are broken and it’s individuals like NSW miner Dave McLachlan who are suffering.

Dave, a miner in Southern NSW was fired in April by South32 for standing up for his workmates against an employer who had failed to implement the terms of an EBA for nearly 18 months.

Dave and his workmates had been protesting against South32’s refusal to provide a laundry service for their coal-ridden work uniforms for 18 months, despite a legal agreement to do so.

Dave led a 10 minute protest with his colleagues in his undies to further highlight the issue. He was then sacked

South32’s action demonstrate better than any slogan that Australia’s laws are broken. South32 can simply thumb its nose at a legally binding agreement for 18 months but when a union delegate tries to make a point in a humorous but effective manner he is sacked.

Dave’s’ guts and determination to stand up for mates should make us all proud.

South32’s actions should make us all ashamed that we have let our laws become so unbalanced.

The right to protest is fundamental not only to the union movement but to a free and open society, and it is to the great shame of South32 that they have acted in such a heavy-handed way against a man with an impeccable work record protesting against their own misconduct.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), and the entire union movement, is behind Dave and we will use every means at our disposal to expose the industrial thuggery by South32.

As the secretary of the ACTU I am proud to stand with workers like Dave and this weekend I’ll be getting that message out to the people of Wollongong through a series of TV ads running during the nightly news.