'We're not greedy': Curtis Island unionists donate $58k

DIGGING DEEP: AMWU delegates Chris Watson and Geoff Lowrey are two of the members from Gladstone who have helped donate $58,000 out of their own pockets to go towards local community groups.
DIGGING DEEP: AMWU delegates Chris Watson and Geoff Lowrey are two of the members from Gladstone who have helped donate $58,000 out of their own pockets to go towards local community groups. Jake Jones

AUSTRALIAN Manufacturing Workers Union members on Curtis Island have pooled their own personal funds to donate $58,000 back to the Gladstone community.

They say they were made out to be "greedy workers" during last year's negotiations on employee work conditions at Bechtel's three sites.

An agreement was eventually voted up by workers following extra monetary incentives from Bechtel.

But the AMWU said both local and fly-in fly-out workers didn't get the decreased roster they were negotiating for, which they argued was a better work/life balance to spend more time with their families.

AMWU delegates Dylan Loates and Ted Couch have been visiting schools, community organisations and charities across Gladstone to donate the funds into causes the workers considered worthwhile.

The AMWU has about 3000 members working on Curtis Island.

Mr Loates said it was important to show that the AMWU was there for Gladstone, and members happily pitched in anything from $50 to $500 out of their own pockets.

"We were made out to be greedy workers," he said. "We were trying to get the rosters more family-friendly."

The idea to donate the funds went to a mass meeting, Mr Loates said, and more than 10 community organisations were chosen.

"It's all about comm unity," he said. "The town never boomed, the island boomed.

"The town is still suffering and there's lots of unemployment."

They also donated to the Brisbane-based Mates in Construction, which works across the state to reduce the high level of suicide among Australian construction workers.

Gladstone has at least six people trained as "assist" workers who keep their at-risk mates safe, for a set period of time, until they can get them the help needed.


These are just some of the organisations who have benefited from a total $58,000 donation:

  • Yarwun State School
  • Gladstone Men's Shed
  • Jason Hetherington Cup Carnival
  • Mates In Construction
  • Tannum Sands Surf Lifesaving Club Nippers

Topics:  amwu curtis island donation fundraising

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