In the News

Media Release 23.3.17 CFMEU QLD/NT


The Gunner Government’s “lifeline” for workers, who were abruptly sacked at the Darwin Inpex project last week, is nothing more than an embarrassing joke that will do absolutely nothing to get them back into work according to CFMEU Divisional Branch Secretary Michael Ravbar. “Gunner’s $200,000 commitment to re-skill 300 local workers and give them access to upload their CV to an online database will achieve nothing. It’s tokenism at its best,” he said.

Over 850 workers lost their jobs over a pay dispute between Laing O'Rourke and Kawasaki Heavy Industries on the Inpex project last week. The workers were given no prior warning and have been left stunned and angry over the sackings. “The Gunner Government has proven that they just aren’t up for the job,” said Michael Ravbar.  “It’s an absolute embarrassment and proves that Gunner is a weak and lacklustre leader with no idea how to fix important issues. The true test for any strong leader when they are in government is how they manage and resolve difficult and important issues. It is obvious that Gunner has failed this test miserably.”

Instead of wasting $200,000 dollars on a band-aid fix that won’t achieve a single outcome, Gunner should be proactive and consult with the parties involved and come to a resolution to ensure these workers are re-employed to finish the job. In the meantime, the CFMEU and other unions are taking the appropriate legal action to ensure these workers are taken care of. 

Media Release 17.3.17 CFMEU QLD/NT


Young workers are being treated like slaves and being exposed to deadly asbestos fibres while gaining practical experience for their All Trades Queensland/Beenleigh PCYC Certificate 1 in Construction, which was part of the Queensland Government’s “Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative”.  

On Monday the CFMEU was contacted by a concerned worker (who has since been sacked for raising the safety concerns) after a pile of suspected asbestos fibro was discovered at the Beenleigh Historical Village where these young workers were directed to work.

CFMEU officials collected samples from the pile, and other debris from the site, and sent them for independent testing at a NATA accredited laboratory. These samples returned a positive result for Brown and White asbestos.

“The CFMEU has serious concerns for the safety of these young workers after officials today witnessed people clearing away and trying to cover up the asbestos debris,” said CFMEU Divisional Branch Assistant Secretary Jade Ingham.

“The Certificate 1 course in Construction should give young people an introduction into the construction industry in a safe and secure environment. Instead, management from Beenleigh PCYC knowingly exposed these young workers to the deadly materials and bullied them into clearing the asbestos debris up. The bosses will have blood on their hands and should be ashamed of themselves. Thankfully these young workers had the confidence to speak up and to contact the union when they were concerned about their safety despite threats of being sacked for doing so. It is a workers’ right to work in a safe and secure work place free from illness or injury and they should not fear retribution when they raise concerns for their safety.”

The CFMEU is calling on the State Government to step in and ensure training initiatives such as “Skilling Queenslanders for Work” are properly monitored in order to make sure unscrupulous employers are not taking advantage or putting the lives of young inexperienced workers at risk.

We are also calling on Workplace Health and Safety Queensland to do their job and immediately investigate and intervene in serious safety matters, which threatens the life of workers. In this instance, a workplace complaint was lodged on Monday with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and it took them until Thursday before they attended the site to investigate the issue, which of course was too late, as all asbestos debris had already been cleared away. 

Media Release  16.3.17 CFMEU National Office and ETU

Unions blast Minister at launch of Inpex court action

Two major trade unions have slammed the federal government’s construction industry regime as ineffective as they launch an application in the Fair Work Commission to recover the entitlements of 850 people left jobless by the shock collapse of a second contract on the troubled Northern Territory Inpex offshore gas project. The national leaders of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and the Electrical Trades Union said the claims people working for subcontractors would be protected under Employment Minister Michaelia Cash’s construction industry regime were shown to be hollow by the withdrawal of Laing O’Rourke, which left 850 people jobless yesterday. The unions will allege that Laing O’Rourke breached provisions of their agreement with their workforce that requires consultation with workers before any redundancies are enacted. The company was reported to be owed $170 million by principal contractor Kawasaki Heavy Industries as it withdrew from the contract.

Last year, Senator Cash assured the parliament her legislation would ensure that subcontractors were paid promptly and that people working for them would not be disadvantaged by delays in payment. “The minister stood in parliament and promised the people of Australia that when companies went to war, they wouldn’t be endangered by the crossfire. More than 800 people have just lost their livelihoods and the minister is silent,” CFMEU Construction and General National Secretary Dave Noonan said.  Click here to read full story.

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