Philippines socialist party supports Australian workers' blockade

Philippines socialist party supports Australian workers' blockade

Philippines socialist party supports Australian workers' blockade

Updated 12 February 2013, 21:59 AEST

A Philippine socialist party says it supports an Australian workers' blockade of a water treatment plant outside Melbourne.

A Philippine socialist party has thrown its support behind the Australian workers blockading the Werribee Water Treatment plant south-west of Melbourne.

Unemployed local tradespeople have been blockading the Werribee Water Treatment plant for the past week to protest against the employment of Filipino workers on special 457 visas.

Earlier this week, the Federal Court reserved decision on the Fair Work Building and Construction Inspectorate's bid to end the eight-day blockade.

On Monday, a group of 12 men, including Filipino workers, were helicoptered into the water treatment plant to avoid the blockade.

The chairman of the PLM Party of the Laboring Masses, Sonny Melencio, has told Radio Australia's Asia Pacific program he's concerned Filipino workers are being used to break picket lines.

"There's a picket going on there and as far as we know, putting in Filipino workers there like they're now being put in a helicopter to break the picket line, that is unacceptable," Mr Melencio said.

"That is unacceptable among unions here (in the Philippines) and we do not do it here and we don't want to be seen as breaking picket lines in any areas."

Mr Melencio says his party understands why the Australian workers are fighting for their rights and is concerned about the Filipino workers safety.

"This actually is not only for us a case of probable scabbing, but also a case of putting the lives of Filipino workers in conditions that are not good because there's a threatening situation where you have picket lines and workers protesting against the area where they are going to be put," he said.

The Philippines' PLM Party of the Laboring Masses says it wants to meet local Australian unions to discuss this issue and others involving Filipino workers.

Mr Melencio says he'll visit Australia in a few weeks time to get in contact with the workers protesting outside the water treatment plant.

"We have to talk to the workers' unions there to find out what's really happening and to develop some kind of strategy where we can keep the solidarity between the Filipino workers and the Australian workers," he said.