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Only a matter of time before someone is killed, union says

CFMEU union official Ben Loakes talks to workers at a protest outside QCLNG.
CFMEU union official Ben Loakes talks to workers at a protest outside QCLNG. Brenda Strong

UNION members took to the streets on Wednesday morning causing significant delays for motorists and industry workers waiting to catch the Curtis Island ferry.

The rally was organised in response to three QCLNG site workers being sacked by Bechtel the previous day.

The union said the sackings came after a dispute over safety.

CFMEU official Ben Loakes said it was only a matter of time before someone was killed on the island.

"We've had workers targeted over bringing up safety issues with their employer, which they did on Friday," he said.

"Since then, three guys have had their employment terminated."

Mr Loakes said workers have consistently raised safety concerns about various issues including tool lanyards, working at heights, exposure and access to safety policies.

"All Bechtel have done is remove the blokes that are being proactive on the job," Mr Loakes said.

"They've singled out and attacked the three most active blokes who are making Bechtel accountable."

Bechtel Gladstone general manager Kevin Berg said the unions' allegations were outrageous.

"The employees concerned were dismissed, in accordance with disciplinary procedures, because of repeated violations of project work rules," he said. "We stand by that decision."

Mr Berg said the union's actions were disappointing and presented dangers to the local community.

"It caused major disruptions to the local road network, impacting the local police and people's ability to get to work," Mr Berg said.

"We understand that the union's action was in protest against the dismissal yesterday of three project employees."

In regards to safety, Mr Berg said all employees were empowered, encouraged and expected to raise safety concerns.

"We encourage employees to talk directly with their supervisors about any concerns they have and we actively work to continually improve safety performance on our projects," he said.

"Nothing is more important to Bechtel than the safety of employees and the communities we work in."

Gladstone Police issued notices to appear to nine people for disobeying a police direction as a result of the rally.

They will appear in Gladstone Magistrates Court in December.

 

Police monitor traffic near a union protest outside QCLNG on Port Curtis Way.
Police monitor traffic near a union protest outside QCLNG on Port Curtis Way. Brenda Strong
Union members protest on Port Central Way, Gladstone.
Union members protest on Port Central Way, Gladstone. Brenda Strong

Topics:  cfmeu curtis island gladstone rally strike



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