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THE “IN THE RED” FACTION: Financial crisis engulfs Victorian Metal Workers Union

redfaction A serious financial crisis confronts the Victorian branch of the Australian Manufacturers Workers Union. The union was once the powerhouse of the Victorian Socialist Left faction but finds itself on the verge of leaving that group and unable to financially sustain its own activities.

The rapid decline in membership, particularly in its Metals division, driven by a downturn in the manufacturing sector is having a devastating effect on the union, according to the union’s officials who are worried about their future.

Union insiders say there is a culture of crisis and panic that has beset the union, with only recent political adventures lightening the mood somewhat.

Desperate measures have been adopted by the union bosses former federal MP Steve Dargavel and Gary Robb to hang on to as many staff as possible.

They have been told to adjust their spending to meet the change income by national AMWU boss Dave Oliver.

Some staff have already been sacked.

In one dramatic example of the lengths they have been forced into, the AMWU blew up longstanding arrangements with an income insurance company after that company had refused to employ several union officials from the Metals.

The AMWU has since formed a company called WageGuard that will employ those officials, cutting the union’s wage bill by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It is also widely known in industry super circles that the AMWU are demanding super funds with which they are affiliated employ a number of their officials, as a matter of urgency.

It is understood that financial imperatives have also driven the union’s desire to put Andy Richards on the head office payroll with that move thought to save the union another $100,000.

stevedargavelAMWU ALP observers have thought it remarkable that the parliamentary aspirant Steve Dargavel has managed to find time to launch an attack on his former faction, the Socialist Left while most would have expected him to focus on saving his union from a financial collapse.

Unconfirmed rumours suggest that a deal signed by the CFMEU and certain officials from the AMWU (including Steve Dargavel) guarantee those unions certain “policy outcomes” that some say are linked to the number of members those unions could expect to gain from favourable government decisions.

If that is true, some with John Brumby’s ear are worried that the arrangement could be seen as using taxpayer money to buy internal votes.

Those familiar with the terms of the deal have emphatically told VEXNEWS that the suggestion of corruption is “bullsh*t” and “delusional”. They insist the Premier’s office have been consulted on the deal and that no-one has raised any ethical concerns with them.

While that’s in doubt, all sides agree the Victorian branch of the AMWU is in a parlous state, made worse by the irrational and megalomaniacal leadership of ultra-left wing conspiracy theorist and Israel hater Steve Dargavel.


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  1. Always keep the ‘Left’ away from the money tin…..they get it mixed up with the chicken wings and the salad tray

    Posted by elephantandrat | May 25, 2009, 19:52
  2. Vultures are now circling Dargavel and Robb, the coup is coming…………

    Saint Jude, pray for them.

    Posted by Gerry Smith | May 25, 2009, 20:18
  3. Dargavel better not ask his mate Antony Thow for advice.That dickhead ran a $560,000 deficit last year and by all accounts is on the way to a million dollar deficit this year.

    Posted by Calvin. | May 25, 2009, 21:28
  4. Appointing Richards to ALP HQ would be the icing on the cake. HQ would be even more fucked than it is now.

    Posted by anon | May 25, 2009, 22:21
  5. income insurance move to wageguard was made by Oliver in national office. old income insurance company moved to new offices in the AWU. aren’t they friends of vexnews. this is a joke.

    Posted by anon | May 25, 2009, 22:31
  6. The Joooooozzzzz must be to blame.

    Posted by Steve Dargavel MP | May 25, 2009, 22:38
  7. http://www.socialist-alliance.org/page.php?page=814

    Steve Dargavel supports Socialist Alliance and attacks on Israel.

    Why are the NUW and SDA involved with criminals like this?

    Posted by Greg the Sword | May 25, 2009, 22:42
  8. Mr Cameron, who was forced to move to a union-owned safe house in 2003 after he was twice assaulted outside his Sydney home, will resign his position on the ACTU executive.

    One attack involved a 26kg rock hurled through his car window, in which he suffered a grazed arm. In the second attack, Mr Cameron was assaulted and had his nose broken.

    Police have never caught those responsible. But police believed at the time they were motivated by internal union disputes.

    Mr Cameron’s imminent departure has officials at the AMWU jockeying for position, particularly in the Victorian branch, where former federal parliamentarian Steve Dargavel has been appointed acting secretary while Dave Oliver is acting national secretary.

    Mr Dargavel was demoted to assistant branch secretary under Mr Oliver amid claims he was a puppet for jailed militant union official Craig Johnston in 2002.


    Posted by Greg the Sword | May 25, 2009, 22:44
  9. The men are facing charges of riot, affray, criminal damage and aggravated burglary after an alleged rampage in a Melbourne engineering workshop last month, which caused damage worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    The allegation is that members of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, or AMWU, including its Victorian State secretary Craig Johnston and state president John Speight ransacked the Skilled Engineering office and intimidated staff after the firm refused to employ 29 workers made redundant by nearby firm Johnson Tiles.

    Yesterday six AMWU officials, including Mr Johnston and Mr Speight, faced Melbourne imagine trait’s court on charges including aggravated burglary, riot and affray and criminal damage.

    Mr Cameron has reportedly been the victim of threats and intimidation himself. With a newspaper reporting that two men had confronted him at his Sydney home and threatened to shoot him. Today, he would not talk about that incident.


    Posted by Violent criminals | May 25, 2009, 22:51
  10. AMWU officials working at a super fund, i hope they wont be making any investment decisions…

    Posted by Anonymous | May 25, 2009, 23:16
  11. the funy matter in all of this andrew is that you’ve waited until they’ve signed a deal with the sda nuw types to point out all this information.

    otherwise their votes were perfectly acceptable to the shortcons weren’t they?

    beware of the hypocrits!

    Posted by anon | May 25, 2009, 23:57
  12. Hey, look up at the sky and check out the flying pigs! Predictable as ever Andrew but you’ve obviously forgotten to take your medication.

    Posted by Judge Judy | May 26, 2009, 0:03
  13. Calvin, get back to polishing Georgie Seitz’s shoes and let the big boys get on with the job.

    Posted by Judge Judy | May 26, 2009, 0:10
  14. Interesting that the state IR minister is the NUW honcho Martin Pakula and the AMWU has managed to get a deal with the NUW that includes a range of “policy outcomes” from the state government. Wjo is Pakula working for, the state government or his factional mates at the NUW/SDA.

    Looks like Martin is still giving it to any girl he can.

    Posted by Jai Badu | May 26, 2009, 0:53
  15. Dargavel always reminds me of Gargemel from the Smurfs…


    Posted by Anon | May 26, 2009, 9:59
  16. Dargavel is Racist

    Posted by Bambi | May 26, 2009, 10:30
  17. The big boys don’t seem to be doing a very good job. Would’nt you agree Judge Judy.

    Posted by Calvin. | May 26, 2009, 11:22
  18. Calvin…..I’ve said it before and will say it again….pull your head out of that obviously over inflated arse of yours and stop trying to protect your boss George Seitz. When are you going to realise tht George Seitz is an out an out crook of the highest degree and has/ or will cause the lives of many honest working staffers from all political parties, including his own to possibly loose their jobs or at least their democratically elected position on various councils around Victoria. Democracy is one thing Seitz knows nothing about and obviously you dont either.

    Posted by anon | May 26, 2009, 11:51
  19. This story does seem to be a bit of a beat up. It makes me think there is significant truth in the rumored AMWU,CFMEU/SDA,NUW deal. Leaving Andy’s mates in the ShortCons looking a bit wobbly.

    Posted by Arther conan doyle | May 26, 2009, 13:01
  20. Arfur, Shortcon can drown his sorrows at the local watering hole again. It’s his contribution to the environment, while he is inside the com car parked out the front isn’t burning hydrocarbons

    Posted by anon | May 26, 2009, 13:51
  21. Don’t you worry about the AMWU finances. Is this the only job you can get you manky foul lying skank.

    P.S. I hear the navy needs a scum sucking human machine for their submarines….I put your name forward.

    Posted by Reality Bites | May 26, 2009, 16:21
  22. Posted by No fat chicks | May 26, 2009, 17:09
  23. Dargavel is useless and so are the dickhead, ambitious NUW boys. Anon 11:51,what camp are you in? Sounds like you might be one of Donnelly’s dickheads.

    Posted by Calvin. | May 26, 2009, 20:21
  24. and they wonder why young kids don’t want to join unions…… a page full of small minded ignorant fools….

    Posted by elephantandrat | May 26, 2009, 21:35
  25. Calvin,Calvin,Calvin…please take your meditation before you pop a vein.

    Posted by Judge Judy | May 26, 2009, 23:39
  26. AMWU under Dargavel going broke.
    NUW under Thow losing money bigtime(1.5 million).
    Now they are both doing deals with Pakula to get policy outcomes that deliver membership.
    How desperate are these wankers?
    The NUW are playing Dargavel the fool for their own political ambitions.

    Posted by Calvin. | May 27, 2009, 12:00
  27. Steady on Calvin – I know Thowy is leaking dough like a sive, but he’s still a mate, so bugger off and let the big swinging dicks swing their meat before one of their big knobs smacks you in the gob

    Posted by Timmy Hairy Arms | May 27, 2009, 12:16
  28. Eff you Hairy Arms….I’ve lent you money for whores before!

    Posted by Thow The Cash Cow | May 27, 2009, 14:22
  29. wake up you dickheads….the world has moved on from your small battles

    Posted by elephantandrat | May 27, 2009, 18:08