QCLNG workers walk off job over camp health concerns

The final module for the QCLNG project at Curtis Island.
The final module for the QCLNG project at Curtis Island. QGC

CURTIS Island workers have risked losing a day's pay, walking off the job over health concerns around camp kitchens.

Construction giant Bechtel slammed Wednesday's action on QCLNG, with general manager Kevin Berg calling it "unlawful" and "ridiculous".

The company is disputing claims a maggot was found in food - calling it a caterpillar.

Joint unions voted to withdraw labour Wednesday morning, with more than 1000 workers reportedly downing tools.

One camp-based worker said dirty cutlery, poor treatment of catering staff, and the discovery of a maggot in broccoli (pictured on Page 1) were issues.

"It's just unhealthy - I've had a bowel infection myself, and there have been cases of shingles in camp," he said.

"We've had concerns for 10 months, and it's only a matter of time before somebody's going to die."

Another raised concerns about raw chicken being served.

Workers in the QCLNG camp believe a maggot was found in broccoli from the camp kitchen - but Bechtel insists it was a caterpillar. Photo Contributed
Workers in the QCLNG camp believe a maggot was found in broccoli from the camp kitchen - but Bechtel insists it was a caterpillar. Photo Contributed Contributed

Bechtel and union representatives met over the action, with no agreement.

Mr Berg would only acknowledge the discovery of "a single caterpillar".

"A number of employees participated in unlawful industrial action on the QCLNG site as a result of this isolated occurrence," he said.

"This action will be responded to appropriately in line with Australian Workplace laws and regulations." Workers said yesterday they wouldn't be paid for the day.

Mr Berg defended conditions in the camp, and denied any "outbreak" of disease.

Bechtel said one case of suspected shingles had seen a patient removed to recover.

"We set a very high standard and expectation for our camp operations," he said.

But several workers insisted Bechtel's claims were "smoke and mirrors".

"It's a health and safety issue, someone's going to get food poisoning or worse," another worker said.

Union representatives did not return calls on Wednesday.

CFMEU, AMWU and AWU representatives have not been available for comment.

Topics:  bechtel curtis island gladstone lng unions

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