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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 1142 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

you were locked out. Who was it? Was it the management, the board or the shareholders who locked you out and humiliated you?

MS GALLAGHER: I have to say that I was expecting this. It was predictable. Given the opportunity, I can take you all through what happened this morning, from the beginning.

My day started off very early this morning. There is a bit of background. Earlier last week, Mr Quinlan and I met with relevant union officials from Totalcare Industries. We gave them some commitments at the time. One was that, as industrial relations minister, I was to focus on talking with union officials and workers, while we work through the working party process, through April, basically.

In setting up this meeting, I have to acknowledge that Totalcare management were not given the notice that they should have been given. I have already acknowledged that this morning. The union knew we were having a meeting, I knew we were having a meeting, but it appears that Totalcare management were not aware that we were having a meeting until quite late last night.

This morning, when I got there, I was under the impression that I would have 10 minutes to speak with some of the workers in the linen area. The line management there were under the impression that I was to go on a tour of the linen area, and the shift had started. When it became clear that I was not going to have the opportunity to talk to the workers, I decided not to go ahead, but to go back and wait until everyone got out of bed, basically, so we could ring and sort out what was going on, because at 7.05 there was no-one to call.

That was what we did and I am pleased to say that tomorrow, at 1 o'clock, I will be meeting with all the workers out at Mitchell.

Mr Smyth: I can lend you my CFMEU badge.

MS GALLAGHER: Actually, comrade, I noticed you were wearing a CFMEU badge. I bet that's the first union badge you have worn in your time.

Mr Smyth: I wear it with pride.

MS GALLAGHER: I am pleased to see it.

That is the story of this morning. It was very much a breakdown in communication. The important issue, I think, that we needed to focus on, and the one that I focused on this morning, was that, when it was clear that I was not going to be able to speak to the group of workers, it was best to remove myself and work out a way forward. The issue is actually getting to the workers and speaking to them. What we did this morning, Ted and I, is work out very clear communication channels. Everyone knows what is going on now and the meeting is to be held tomorrow.

That is what I want to do. I want to get there and hear what those workers' concerns are, because there are some concerns. Those workers need to have access to one of their elected representatives, which is what I am doing tomorrow.

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