48 hours after the nationwide union protest day, how goes the government-business respond? Remember those threatened $22,000 fines for striking workers, those docked paychecks for the defiant marchers?

On Monday, the Prime Minister declared that workers could protest “on their own time” – while his public service cancelled approved flexitime and leave, and big business muscled up to their workers, threatening big fines for truants.

Of course, the point of the various nasty departmental emails was to create FUD – and it worked. They knew they had no legal legs to stand on, but in the brave new world of “Workplace Relations” any threat is a good threat.

So who will face the backlash? If anecdotal reports we’re receiving mean anything, there were plenty of office managers who happened to be in “meetings” on Tuesday morning and unable to report on attendances.

We’d be surprised if business took the big stick to workers. But if subscribers hear of any cases of bosses beating up on stay-away-staffers, you can report them to Crikey’s (self-appointed) workers’ advocate: [email protected]