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TasNetworks contractor charged for assaulting union officials

admin O'Sullivan

Owner of A1 Trees, Leigh Winwood, attacked CEPU officials outside his company’s headquarters in Tasmania this month during an industrial dispute.

CEPU members and officials were gathering peacefully at a routine barbecue to support locked-out workers who have been making reasonable demands for fairer wages and an industry standard EBA.

CEPU Tasmania secretary Mick Anderson and organiser Chris Clark turned up to support the union members when Winwood backed his car into them, physically assaulted them and gave death threats. They escaped with minor injuries.

A1 Trees are the preferred contractor of state-owned electricity distributor TasNetworks.  

TasNetworks, who first directed A1 Trees to lock the workers out of their workplace, are aware of the incident but have sadly refused to act. Additionally, they have also been aware for a long period of time that company has been breaching the Award by underpaying workers.

CEPU Tasmania Secretary, Mick Anderson, said the violent incident had been reported to police.

“This is simply unacceptable violent intimidation by a manager who has lost control and lost perspective,” Mr Anderson said.

“It is disgraceful that the personal safety of trade unionists is threatened simply for standing up for the right to collectively bargain.

“Unfortunately, the fish rots from the head. When a company like TasNetworks encourages a contractor to lock out their workers, it effectively gives the green light for intimidation.

ETU National Secretary Allen Hicks also criticised A1 Trees.

“This is one of the worst cases of industrial intimidation I have witnessed. It’s unacceptable and must be completely condemned,” he said.

Charges including two counts of assault have been laid against Mr Winwood following the incident and he is due to appear before the Devonport court in October.

A1 Trees workers are courageously holding the line as they stand up for their right to fair wages and working conditions.

Watch footage from the incident here.


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