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Orica workers walk off site

Disgruntled construction workers vote to down tools over safety issues on the Orica expansion site yesterday.
Disgruntled construction workers vote to down tools over safety issues on the Orica expansion site yesterday.

By LEE McIVORlmcivor@gladstoneobserver.com.au

CONSTRUCTION workers will meet this morning to decide if they will return to work after they downed tools at Orica's expansion site yesterday.

The site emptied yesterday when 300 workers called an emergency meeting to discuss safety issues and demanded an immediate meeting between their representatives and Orica management to resolve their concerns.

Orica and representatives from the on-site construction companies met immediately afterwards for three hours to work through the safety issues.

Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (AMWU) state organiser Terry Grieve said the meeting was productive, with Orica management agreeing to address most of the concerns of the workers.

"Representatives got some feedback on their concerns and Orica has promised to look at engineering the current problem out of the system,'' he said.

"ORICA has also agreed to change the communication process between the site and the plant.

"Both sides admitted communications haven't been good between the site and Orica.''

Mr Grieve said a breach of safety procedures had prompted the walkout yesterday.

"Last Friday the plant had a start up without the proper warning procedures and as a consequence workers were exposed to toxic fumes,'' he said.

"United Group Resources workers walked off the site Tuesday morning after management refused to discuss their concerns.'' They also expressed concern over the number of incidents on site during the last eight weeks.

On Tuesday a worker received an electric shock while welding and had to be taken to hospital.

A spokesperson for Gladstone District Hospital said the worker was kept in overnight last night for observation. Disgruntled workers claim there have been eight accidents in the past six weeks.

They will meet again this morning to discuss the outcomes of that meeting.

Orica was unavailable for comment yesterday.



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