Jobs fail to arrive
ELECTRICIANS in the Gladstone region say they are being overlooked for jobs with construction giant Bechtel, as the company turns to fly-in fly-out workers.
Bechtel is constructing three multi-billion-dollar projects on Curtis Island.
Electrical Trade Union state organiser Craig Giddins yesterday estimated there were about 60 qualified electricians living in the Gladstone region who had been overlooked by Bechtel to work on Curtis Island.
His main concern is a group of workers who were involved in completion of the Yarwun 2 project, which was the expansion of the Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun refinery.
Mr Giddins said yesterday those electricians had been working for other companies contracting for Bechtel on the Yarwun 2 project.
According to electricians on that project, they were asked to stay at Yarwun 2 until completion of the project. They say a Bechtel representative told them the company would be aiming to recruit them for projects on Curtis Island.
Mr Giddins said electricians stayed with the Yarwun 2 project as agreed, and left on May 25.
However many are yet to hear a response to their applications for jobs with Bechtel.
Bechtel Gladstone general manager Kevin Berg said the company was doing all it could to recruit locally. He also said efforts were being made to bring qualified workers from Bechtel's Yarwun 2 job to Curtis Island
"All electricians with the appropriate skills and experience will have the opportunity to work on the projects at some stage," he said.
"Timing of the construction program dictates when we need certain skill sets.
"These projects have always employed local workers first, then state-wide, then nationally.
"In fact, this week Bechtel launched a local recruitment campaign to ensure local people were aware of our local employment strategy. We are only advertising locally at the moment to ensure we have captured as many local people as possible that may have the skills required to work for us on these projects."
Sparkies left wondering
Mr Giddins said many electricians had applied for jobs on Bechtel's Curtis Island projects at the end of 2011, but were still waiting for a response.
Fred and Nathan wanted to do the right thing. Now they feel as though they were let down.
The qualified electricians, who want to remain anonymous, worked for a contractor under Bechtel at the Yarwun 2 project.
Both Fred and Nathan said they had registered for positions on Curtis Island with Bechtel around Christmas last year.
While they were not employed directly by Bechtel at Yarwun, they both said a Bechtel representive asked them and other workers to see that project through to completion.
Fred and Nathan both said Bechtel told them if they stayed on the Yarwun 2 project until it was completed, the company would help them by providing jobs at its construction of the LNG projects on Curtis Island.
They were told they would need to go through the normal application process for jobs on the island, but they believed their loyalty to the Yarwun 2 project would see them shifted over to Curtis Island.
Both the electricians finished at Yarwun 2 on May 25. Since then, they have heard nothing from Bechtel about their applications for jobs on Curtis Island.
"It feels to me like you have done the right thing by them and helped them finish the job, and this is how they reward you," Fred said.
"I know a lot of boys (who worked on the Yarwun 2 project) who have had to leave town to get work."
Fred has lived in Gladstone region for 5 years and Nathan for 10 years. Now they are concerned that they have been overlooked for Fly In Fly Out electricians.
Fred was out of work for a month before he secured a job with a different company, but he still hasn't heard from Bechtel.
Nathan is due to start a new job one month from now, so he will have been out of work for 3 months by the time he starts that job.
While they have both been able to line up other jobs, the pair say they feel let down that Bechtel has not responded to their applications.