WARNING: CANCER KILLERS IN CONSTRUCTION

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1 EMA S AND JOBS FOR LOCALS FIRST! TRAIN OUR WA KIDS WARNING: CANCER KILLERS IN CONSTRUCTION $300,000 PAY DAY FOR CEILING FIXERS SCAFFY S WIN FIGHT OVER UNPAID WAGES

2 C F M E U D I R E C T O R Y President Cam McCullough Secretary Mick Buchan Assistant Secretaries Joe McDonald, Graham Pallot UNION OFFICERS Steve McCann OH&S Officer Rod Reynolds Wage Claims Jack Nicholas Lawyer Kevin Sneddon Lawyer Shannon Walker Lawyer Matthew Swinbourn Industrial Advocate Mia Onorato-Sartari IR/Legal Assistant Kelly Karolak IR/Legal Assistant Peta Arnold Office Manager Linda Pallot Accounts Officer Rob Mitchell Media & Communications Tammy Hall Reception Michelle Kavanagh Membership Officer ORGANISERS Brad Upton (North West) Phil Kennedy (North West) Troy Smart (South West) Matt Waters Mark Hudston Vinnie Molina Aaron Mackrell Peter Joshua Pat Heathcote Seamus Byrne Matt Balde The Union Office is located at 82 Royal Street East Perth WA 6004 Open 7:00am 5:00pm Monday to Friday PO Box 6681 East Perth WA 6892 Telephone: (08) Facsimile: (08) Website: Join/ Like our Facebook page at All rights reserved: The Construction Worker Journal is complied & published by the publications department. All copyright belongs to the. No part of the publication may be reproduced or copied in any means without the written permission of the publisher. Disclaimer: The information contained within this publication is for general construction workers only. While every care is taken to ensure accuracy of information, we accept no responsibility for any action taken as a consequence of the information contained in this publication. ISS C O N T E N T S Mick Buchan Secretary s Address 3 Training Campaign 4 Enterprise Migration 6 Is this the way we want to go here? $6 an hour! 9 Unions recover $300,000 in ceiling fixer wages 11 Unpaid scaffy s revolt on government jobs 13 Streamlined election process this year 13 ABCC fails to have NW workers pay fines 15 North West Report 16 Cancer killers in construction 18 Irish workers: Check your wage rates to be sure! 21 troopers answer Legacy s call 23 Letter from Cape Preston 25 Worker boiled to death: Chevron fined $ Letter from Barrow 27 May Day Poster 28 Enforceable Undertakings 31 Save with FREE travel insurance 31 Safety Shockers 32 Worker s Memorial Day 33 Happy ending to Bali nightmare! 35 Latest Statistics 37 Sham operator tax crackdown 39 Union Membership 39 YAC Update 41 Workers bought or hired? 41 Legal Advice 43 Around the Yards workers: 100% IN 100 WIN! 45 City Round Up 46 Northern Suburbs Round Up 46 Eastern Suburbs Report 47 South West & Metro Round Up 49 Mid West Round Up 51 Member s Banking 53 International News 55 Pete s Page 56 HAVE YOUR SAY IN THE JOURNAL Construction Worker Winter 2012 Page 1

3 S E C R E TA R Y S A D D R E S S with Mick Buchan We have a vision where government has none It seems for at least the last decade or more, companies and government have been screaming about the so called skills shortage. There was a time when government and the corporate world used to take a long term view. They planned well ahead for the future. Nowadays they seem to look no further than the next election or shareholders meeting. This union and others will not lie down and see our kids and their future job opportunities traded away. The WA will continue to take up the cudgel to ensure resource and mining companies CONTRIBUTE to the WA Construction Training Fund for the training of our young kids, and jobs for locals first and foremost. It is a battle our industry and our kids can t afford to lose. So I say, more than ever before, every member we have helps us continue this fight against the wealthy big end of town, on behalf of our members, parents and our kids futures. There s never been a better reason to join the union (See story this issue) EMA ENTERPRISE MIGRATION AGREEMENTS Following intense lobbying from your union, resource companies and contractors recruiting overseas workers through EMA s, will NOW be REQUIRED to use the new Jobs Board to demonstrate that suitably qualified Australian s are given the first opportunity to apply for available jobs and training. The government will take into account the use of the Jobs Board when assessing EMA applications, including the number of skills of Australian jobseekers registered with the Jobs Board. If you want to work up north register now on the Jobs Board at sectorjobs The union is also developing its own list of workers willing to work and be trained to work in the North West. You can list by sending an to APPRENTICE POSITIONS ON GOVERNMENT JOBS: After our Construction Worker journal highlighted the story about the lack of apprentices on government jobs (see Spring 2011 issue on our website), it s good to see that ALP leader Mark McGowan has promised to revive the Priority Start Program, forcing tenderers for big state contracts to guarantee a certain quota of apprentice positions. Apprenticeship positions have fallen alarmingly under the Barnett Government and having a strictly enforced quota on major state government contracts is something your union has been fighting hard for. Dare to struggle Dare to win! UNION MEMBERSHIP GROWING: 100% IN 100% WIN! I m happy to report that our recent membership changeover has been one of our best ever in recent times. Our membership growth is on a strong upward trend in the first half of this year. MAY DAY - A FANTASTIC TURN OUT: This year s May Day picnic and parade was one of the best! It was great to see all blue collar unions united as one! There is a new, positive spirit in the air as our union moves forward. This is being reflected on sites and in yards across the state. Thanks to all those who went along and if you couldn t make it we hope to see you next year. Eugene Krstic pictured with Mick Buchan on May Day - a great bloke, gone too soon. VALE EUGENE KRSTIC - It s with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Eugene Krstic after a long battle with illness. Eugene was a true believer, he was a member since 1971 and was one of our best shop stewards and safety reps on numerous jobs over the years. Our sincere sympathies go to Eugene s wife Wendy and his family. We ll miss him and never forget him. Sincerely Mick Buchan State Secretary WA Stay strong be paid up and proud Construction Worker Winter 2012 Page 3

4 T R A I N I N G C A M PA I G N with Mick Buchan launches training levy campaign The WA recently launched one of its most important campaigns in recent history. The is calling on all resource/mining companies in this state to pay a negotiated levy fee into the WA Government s Construction Training Fund (formerly BCITF) on all resource based projects. The campaign consists of statewide Billboards, mobile Billboards, bus shelter posters, radio, press ads, social media, site posters and more. So far the response from our members, contractors, and the wider community has been extremely positive. Western Australia which has a far infrastructure. $14 million dollars larger resource sector than will be contributed by Queensland is lagging well behind Queensland s mining and its eastern states counterpart when resource sector from civil it comes to making contributions to training apprentices and semiskilled projects. Resource companies also contribute in South Australia. workers. WA resource companies Construction Skills Queensland contribute absolutely nothing receives a payment levied at 0.1% of the construction employer s payroll for projects valued at $80,000 or higher. This includes all resource industry construction projects. from civil construction projects in WA, even though a government report recommended it in Here in WA on every building project, from a pergola to a Although the housing and skyscraper, all WA builders pay a commercial sectors of the industry in Queensland are depressed like the rest of Australia, the Queensland small levy to the WA Government run Construction Training Fund. The rate of the levy in WA is 0.2% of Construction Training Fund is the total contract price (inclusive of projecting $57 million in income for the 2011/12 period, due to the significant growth in resource sector GST) or $200 in every $100,000 worth of project value, where the project is over $20,000 in value. This The media scrum interview Mick Buchan equated to about $30 million last year. These funds are used to train our kids and keep regenerating skills for the future. The broader WA community would be surprised and even furious to learn that resource/ mining companies pay absolutely nothing to the WA Construction Training Fund from major civil projects. Yet they are amongst the biggest users of construction skills. Their answer to the skills shortage is to import large numbers of temporary workers from overseas, now and for decades to come and in the process, bleed our industry dry of future skills and our kids of job opportunities going forward. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. IT HAS TO START NOW! The resource companies take from those builders not only operating in the commercial sector but also in the residential sector who pay a training levy. The has found an unexpected ally with comments made by prominent WA residential builder Dale Alcock. He came out with a highly critical statement in the April 1st edition of the Australian Financial Review, saying they (mining companies) poach many of Page 4 Construction Worker Winter 2012

5 against WA resources sector. Barnett & Norman Moore blocking levy! the building sector's apprentices, but contribute nothing. Alcock was also quoted in the West Australian saying; about 45 per cent of the 400 apprentices trained through his company since 2006 left soon after qualifying, mostly for the mining sector. It has put his training group out of pocket by up to $1.5 million. Even the WA Master Builders Association has come out and supported the direction of our stance on this issue. WA State Secretary, Mick Buchan says; It appears everyone can see the inequity of the situation except the resource companies, the WA Government, CCI and the CME. Nicole Rooke of the Chamber of Minerals and Energy commented on ABC radio: The resources sector I guess fundamentally is opposed to the imposition of the levy for the heavy and civil construction work that is done. The won t sit by any longer and see future jobs for WA kids become decimated by the never ending quick-fix strategy of resource companies, supported by government, to import temporary overseas labour. WHERE DOES THE WA GOVERNMENT STAND ON THIS ISSUE? WA Premier Colin Barnett was quoted saying The mining companies are sometimes accused of taking workers trained by other industries. What a massive understatement! Colin Barnett was churlish and arrogant when he simply dismissed our campaign as being nothing more than a defacto election campaign for the WA Labor Party. Our union is more interested in good policy than politics. We call on the WA Premier, Colin Barnett to override Norman Moore and negotiate with the resources sector to pay a fair levy into the state s own Construction Training Fund, before WA develops an unhealthy dependency on imported labour and loses an entire generation of skill sets and future jobs for our kids. If nothing is done, we will continue to promote this as a major issue right up to the next state election and take action wherever we can. In the meantime there s a window of opportunity for Mark McGowan and the WA ALP to shape their policy on this issue and to have a policy setting which differentiates itself from the Liberal/National coalition. The push for mass overseas temporary labour from the likes of Gina Rinehart to work her Roy Hill project continues, instead of training up a locally based workforce to provide skills, jobs and a future for our kids. Watch this space. Construction Worker Winter 2012 Page 5

6 E N T E R P R I S E M I G R AT I O N with Dave Noonan Resources Jobs Board welcome, The Labor Government s announcement of the commencement of the Jobs Board for the resources sector on June 10 is a significant response to community concerns over the resource magnates bid to bring in cheap labour in order to reap more profit from Australia s mining boom. Ministers Chris Bowen, Bill Shorten and Kate Ellis have now said: Companies and contractors recruiting overseas workers through EMAs will be required to use the Jobs Board to demonstrate that suitably qualified Australians are given the first opportunity to apply for available jobs. Importantly, the Government will also take into account the use of the Jobs Board when assessing EMA applications, including the number and skills of Australian jobseekers registered with the Board. The Roy Hill project, which was granted the first EMA on May 25, will also be required to use the Jobs Board. The knows there are plenty of unemployed construction workers in Australia who are being knocked back by the resource magnates. The Union believes the Jobs Board should now become a significant source for recruitment into the industry. TRANSPARENCY STILL NEEDED However, the Jobs Board will still need to operate transparently. It must actually provide jobs for Australian workers. It must not become a token gesture towards Australian workers rights to resources jobs, without actually getting them into work. Resource magnates must be publicly held accountable if they fail to genuinely recruit Australian workers. Resource magnates and the contractors on those jobs must also be held accountable for their treatment of any 457 visa workers they bring into Australia. If you are seeking work in the resource sector: or call the Job Seeker Hotline Gina Rinehart, Roy Hill Project One of the s main concerns over the use of the employer sponsored temporary 457 scheme is the way it leaves migrant workers vulnerable to exploitation by their bosses. And there is plenty of evidence to show workers being ripped off on wages and conditions, who dare not speak up or even get close to local workers, for fear of losing their jobs. The will continue to challenge the mining magnates' demands for a return to WorkChoices, with its rip-off wages and trashing of workers rights. Secretary Mick Buchan says: The union will be vigilant in monitoring how many job opportunities are made to local workers first and if any are knocked back because of the secretive ERMS Black List. It s also interesting to note that Roy Hill have made no offer to contribute some of their billions to the WA Construction Training Fund to help train our young WA Kids and mature apprentices. Page 6 Construction Worker Winter 2012

7 but it must be transparent! JACK: Disgrace! ANTHONY: Pricks! WHAT THE MEMBERS ARE SAYING OWEN: Where is the Federal Labor party? No different to the bloody Libs. Australia and her leaders are for sale. STEPHEN: If they can t employ Australia workers then leave the resources in the ground or under the seabed!!! Don t touch it. LANCE: Time for action nationwide. ROBERT: The Labor Party that was there for the working class is dead and buried. ANDREW: Please don't turn a blind eye to our apprentices, and the aboriginal people and don t forget there are Aussie women looking for work driving moxies and other trades etc. I feel sick at these greedy slugs. STEVE: I reckon we should organise a protest rally outside Rinehart's offices to tell her that we don't want her to import 1700 foreign workers into Australia. ASH DEANNE: Typical FAT CAT!!!!!!! CHARLIE: It s the worst thing that can happen Australia. COASTAL BRILLIANTS: with 2700 jobs being lost by a company known as Hastie...does this now mean that Gina Rinehart no longer needs to bring in 1700 unskilled labourers from elsewhere in the world...how about we help out the Aussie unemployed before reaching out for workers who will undoubtedly ruin the work done by the union movement over the past century. Come on give Aussies ago. I know people who have been trying for at least 5 years to get into the mining sector. We need to provide more traineeships so Aussies are given first priority MICHAEL: How many more turkeys can these fat asses fit in their guts? Isn't greed and gluttony a sin? $1,000,000 every half hour while some kids don't even have brekky before school. Scared for the future of our kids. DISGRACEFUL. Leave some dirt in the ground for future generations to dig up. ROBERT: Time for Mr Bowen to join the unemployment line and see if he still thinks the same way. ANDREW: I'd say Lang would be turning in his grave for what she wants to do. JACK: What a disgrace, I m 19 and with the union in Perth, what chance do young people have? NATASHA: All Australian workers should be worried. If they can do this to Australian construction they will do it to all Australian industries. I think it is time for all Australians to stand up before there is no work left for Australian citizens and more importantly for our kids futures. ANDREW: I believe something needs to be done now!!!! about this decision to allow 457 workers in while Australian workers are doing it tough. If that means organising a nationwide protest (because this does affect all Australians) then so be it. I have for the last 40 years been a Labor supporter, at times wondering why? But always believing the Labor Party had workers rights and welfare at the forefront of their policies. It seemed to me that with these core values I felt a sense of protection for the Australian way and quality of life. This is now very much under threat by the very party that I have been supporting. The very sad realisation may well be the loss of my vote at the next election. Whether that one vote is only one or as I very much suspect gaining into a flood of protest against the Labor Party over this decision will I am sure be revealed in the future. A very sad day. Construction Worker Winter 2012 Page 7

8 F E AT U R E with Joe McDonald Is this the way we want to go here? $6 an hour! Holiday visa workers and backpackers on cheap rates, illegal immigrants, 457 workers being ripped off we ve got our fair share of sham contracting here in WA. This story out of the UK gives a glimpse of where we could be heading if we don t stand up and stay strong in the union. It s 8am on a cold Wednesday in November. Around 50 men ranging from teenagers to those in their 60s gather at the entrance to the Wickes DIY store in Tottenham, North London. They are looking for work from the small to medium sized building firms who know this is a spot to find day labourers. When a car or van enters the car park and the driver starts to speak to the men, those nearby run towards it in the hope of being selected. Most of the men are in groups of four to eight and seem to know each other. Others, however, stand apart and do not interact with anyone. The work on offer can last a day, a week or months. The men who we speak to this morning say the daily pay rate for a nine or ten hour day ranges from 40 to 60, although they say there are people who are willing to work for less. 50 per day is the figure mentioned most often. Most say they are paid cash in hand, although some say that certain firms employ them on the books and deduct tax. Most are labourers, although some have specialist skills such as plumbing. All the people we speak to are migrants from either Bulgaria or Romania. They insist that no British people wait outside Wickes looking for employment. There is little work around at the moment, according to the men. One says he has been waiting all last week and this without a single offer of work. Between 8am and 9am we only see a couple of employers pull up with offers of work. According to the Wickes security guard, men gather here every day from 6am looking for employment. On Monday mornings, he says, the crowd is much bigger than today, so big in fact that customers are unable to enter the car park. He says that other Wickes stores in London have The U.K Way: Labourers $6 to $8 AUD an hour! now become gathering points for day labourers. A 25-year-old Romanian man, who has lived in London for three years, who has a CIS tax number and all the paperwork needed to work in the UK, explains why he works for 50 a day or less. I m always paid cash in hand and it s always less than the minimum wage, he says. But I do it because I need to eat. I know it s bad, but you have no choice. The same man points out that the casual nature of the work makes it easy for employers to withhold pay. A guy picked me up here recently and told me he would pay me 40 for a day s labouring, he says. At the end of the first day he only gave me 20 and said: I will give you the rest tomorrow. But he didn t come and get me the next day and I never saw him again and never got the money. Jamie Elliott is a freelance journalist. This piece was written for Community Links, a charity based in East London helping people and communities in need. It appeared in the New Year edition of the UCATT magazine, Building Worker. Construction Worker Winter 2012 Page 9

9 U N I O N S AT W O R K with Mick Buchan Unions recover $300,000 in ceiling fixer wages Swift action to be on the site and front up at the tool box meeting at 7.30am took management by surprise and harnessed the strong support of all the workers. MATT WATERS The workers celebrate a big pay day with officials, Mark Hudston, Peter Joshua and Mat Waters. It s situations like this when workers are glad they belong in the union and have someone to go in and fix it. I d like to thank all workers who stood as one, touch one, touch all! Mick Buchan It started with a phone call to City organiser Peter Joshua at 6 am in the morning. He was told that a city building site, which we can t name for legal reasons, had over 30 ceiling fixers who hadn t been paid for 3 to 7 weeks. Their boss hadn t been paid by the principal contractor either. At 7.30 am union organisers Matt Waters and Peter Joshua fronted up at the site tool box meeting, where they made the whole site aware of the fact that the workers had gone without any pay for weeks on end. The workers themselves decided to sit in the shed. Management did their usual trick and called Police. When they arrived all the blokes stuck fat and formed a barricade around the union officials. No charges were laid. The union met with management later in the morning to resolve the issue. A total of approximately $300,000 was paid back to the workers. Union Organiser Matt Waters said: Swift action to be on the site and front up at the tool box meeting at 7.30am, took management by surprise and harnessed the strong support of all the workers. They like the fact that we are not a 9-5 union, we turn up and are willing to do whatever it takes, whatever the stakes! Peter Joshua who received the original tip-off said; the workers were ecstatic with the result, but the situation should never have arisen. It s a disgrace that workers and their families are left without wages for so long. WHAT THE MEMBERS SAID: Just grateful there are still unions around to do that stuff Kolani Fair play, well done to the union Kevin Good work by the union glad to finally get paid Peter Bloody happy I m in the union and great to see how they worked out all the problems on the site. Mick Impressed by the organisation of the union and Peter Joshua was true to his word which is very important Ray Happy to get paid! Joel It was great how Matty Waters fronted up early at the tool box meeting to get action for our money to be paid - a big thanks to the! Shane Getting ripped off or having problems getting paid? Call our office now on or call your area organiser. Construction Worker Winter 2012 Page 11

10 U N I O N S AT W O R K with Joe McDonald Unpaid scaffy s revolt on government jobs When workers and their families front up at the supermarket checkout on pay day and their card is rejected, you know something is wrong. 35 scaffolders at Perth Arena and other Government jobs at the new PMH hospital and St Bart s in Lime Street East Perth elected to down their tools, as they had not received their pay on time, every time for weeks on end. At the time of downing their tools many members had not been paid and most Workers demonstrate to get paid outside Perth Arena had not received any superannuation contributions for up to 2 years, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Enough was enough. state secretary Mick Buchan says, The Perth Arena has been beset by problems since day one; I said that if this problem wasn t fixed on the Perth Arena George Michael wouldn t be opening anything in November. WHAM! Joe McDonald and I confronted the worker s employer Hire Access, whose management were in the middle of their Annual General Meeting and demanded that workers had all their wages brought up to date, which was achieved and we are continuing to work through the issues regarding non-payment of super. It s a bloody disgrace that issues like this happen on government projects. Workers on the new PMH job and homeless accommodation project for St Bart s were also affected. Joe McDonald commented; You cannot expect workers to continue working for nothing and going without their legal entitlements when they can t afford to put food on the table or pay their mortgage and other bills. It puts a strain on the whole family, once again this proves that the only difference between a worker and a slave is the union. Update: Workers haven t had Super paid for up to 2 years the has taken the matter to the Commission. Watch this space! Streamlined Election Process this Year The State W (the State Union) has been successful in an application to the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission (WAIRC) designed to streamline the operations of the State Union and the Federal (the Federal Union). The effect of the successful application is that: The WA Divisional Branch of the Construction & General Division of the Federal Union (the Divisional Branch) has been declared to be the counterpart Federal body of the State Union; The State Union does not have to run a separate election process for office holders; It pays to be in the union! The people holding the offices in the Divisional Branch are for all purposes taken to be the office holders in the State Union; Any person who is a member of the Divisional Branch who is eligible to be a member of the State Union is deemed to be a member of the State Union. This means that there will be one Union election this year. The results of that one election will determine the office holders for both the State Union and the Divisional Branch of the Federal Union. That will save a lot of time, resources and duplication so that both the State and Federal Unions can get on with the business of representing their members. Construction Worker Winter 2012 Page 13

11 U N I O N N E W S with Mick Buchan & Joe McDonald ABCC fails to have North West workers pay fines Whatever it takes...whatever the stakes! Like a dinosaur trying to inflict further pain on its prey with its last dying breath, the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) has failed in its attempt to have more than 1300 workers pay a heavy fine over industrial action on the Pluto site in Karratha. The original dispute arose over the eviction of workers from their dongers located at Gap Ridge at the end of each shift. Workers who are away from home for up to 9 and 10 months of the year wanted the surety of permanency that came with them living in the same donger. The system known as motelling meant that workers had to constantly change where they lived on-site. There was no prior consultation with the workforce or unions over instituting the new accommodation system. The dispute was settled with fines being suspended in return for undertakings not to be involved in industrial action on 3 Woodside projects Pluto, Browse and North- West Shelf for a period of 7 years. The ABCC intervened in the Federal Court decision and tried to convince the Court not to suspend the penalties and asking for their costs...they were unsuccessful. The Court considered that there was no need for the ABCC to intervene and commented that if their approach was adopted it would act as a disincentive to the parties reaching a settlement and would not advance the objects of the FW Act or the BCII Act. WA State Secretary, Mick Buchan says: The concept of motelling is something we are still against. It has a negative mental effect on workers. Some have committed suicide. We would like to deal with the daily effect of motelling but unions need to get easier access to work camp sites. It is a disgrace and something we will continue to challenge. The workers reached an agreement between their lawyers and the company which the ABCC wouldn t accept, so they saw fit to intervene and try to have it overruled a complete waste of taxpayer s money. Assistant State Secretary Joe McDonald comments; The sheer vindictiveness of this particular pursuit is just another reason why most of the ABCC operation was consigned to the scrap heap. Although it must be said that until the coercive interrogation powers are dismantled, the job isn t done there must be one law for all. Construction Worker Winter 2012 Page 15

12 N O R T H W E S T R E P O R T with Brad Upton & Phil Kennedy GORGON WORKERS STICKING We were threatened at the start of the Gorgon project, when everyone was green and a little scared to lose their job. They thought we would go by this and that rule, and do this and that. But we united. Everyone who was not already a member joined the union and we started our own monthly meetings on the Finnmarken. The difference was immediate. Malcolm Graham reports I am currently a worker on the Gorgon project and have also worked in Karratha. I have been involved, over many years, in fighting for our rights and entitlements. I have been a delegate for the AMWU and for the last 16 months for the on the Barrow Island Gorgon project. I have to say it has been the most challenging job and we ve had to fight for everything we have achieved. Having said that, ask anyone on this job, right or wrong, I will back our boys 100%! We stick together that is the only way that you will win guaranteed! We were threatened at the start of the Gorgon project, when everyone was green and a little scared to lose their job. They thought we would go by this and that rule, and do this and that. But we united. Everyone who was not already a member joined the union and we started our own monthly meetings on the Finnmarken. The difference was immediate. I took it off my own back to start these, but the boys and ladies backed me up. I would speak to union organisers Brad Upton and Phil Kennedy on a weekly basis and keep them in the loop and at the same time get advice. The work group would bring up issues and we would hit management head on with these issues. It got to the point they even had to hire a full time IR Manager because they said that we were too smart for them! We have carried this on throughout the marine and onshore works with MMJV and through the project. Here s a couple of examples. If the guys were not getting paid we went through the ORGANISE Page 16 Construction Worker Winter 2012

13 AND WINNING TOGETHER right channels and as a last resort would just shut the whole job down until we had it in writing and signed that we were going to get our money and guess what we got? It was also about things like dust and traffic management, cold water and toilets! We had to fight for it all and the only way we did it was unite! We are now at the end of the project and we have won 95% of our fights and got what we have wanted. We outlasted 5 project managers due our strength in numbers, keeping the pressure on and sticking together. I just thought I would share this for any readers and members out there. As we like to say in the NW, 100% IN, 100% WIN! Malcolm Graham Rank and File Member 100% IN 100%WIN! Construction Worker Winter 2012 Page 17

14 S A F E T Y N E W S with Steve McCann CANCER KILLERS IN Much is still unknown about carcinogens and the amount of exposure necessary to cause cancer, and it will take decades to draw some direct links, although the link with asbestos is proved and well founded. But there are other silent killers out there on the job to be wary about. While international researchers continue to probe the causes of cancer, a Canadian based research initiative, CAREX Canada, is cataloguing Canadians exposure to carcinogens while on the job, a little-studied area. Below is an index of known carcinogens that CAREX found are present in Canadian workplaces. These carcinogenic (cancer causing) substances are also prevalent in Australian workplaces. Each listed substance has been deemed a known carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. It s not just asbestos we have to look out for! WOOD DUST Occupations at risk Construction workers; furniture /cabinetmakers; carpenters; shop fitters; timber workers; window/door manufacturers; joinery workers; wooden boat builders; pulp and paper manufacture workers. Associated cancers Cancers of the nasal cavities, paranasal sinuses (adjacent to nasal cavity) and nasopharynx (part of pharynx, behind the nose). Other health effects Eye irritation, nose bleeds, dermatitis, respiratory hyper sensitivity, asthma, cough, wheezing, prolonged colds. FORMALDEHYDE Occupations at risk Painters, manual labourers, product assemblers and foundry workers. Associated cancers Nasopharyngeal cancer and leukaemia. Other health effects Suspected links to childhood asthma and reproductive problems in women. Even at very low levels of exposure it irritates eyes and breathing passages. COAL TAR AND COAL-TAR PITCHES Occupations at risk Roofers; pavers; road, bridge and building construction workers; chemical manufacturing workers; glassmakers; paint and adhesive manufacturing workers. Associated cancers Skin, lung and scrotal cancer Other health effects Skin, eye and respiratory tract irritation UNSURE OR NEED MORE ADVICE? Contact Safety officer Steve McCann on Construction Worker Winter 2012 Page 18

15 CONSTRUCTION ASBESTOS Occupations at risk Asbestos miners; brake repair mechanics; building demolition or maintenance workers; carpenters; cabinetmakers; construction workers; electricians; plumbers; plaster and drywall installers; auto mechanics. Buildings such as schools, hospitals and offices constructed before 1980 may contain asbestos insulation. Associated cancers Lung, larynx and ovary cancer and mesothelioma (extremely fatal cancer of the lining of the lung or abdominal cavity). Other health effects Asbestosis (scarring of the lungs making breathing difficult). CRYSTALLINE SILICA Occupations at risk Quarry workers; plasterers; drywallers; construction workers; brick workers; miners; stonecutters (including jewellery); workers involved in drilling, polishing, crushing; pottery makers; glassmakers; soap or detergent manufacturers; farmers; dentists; auto workers. Associated cancers Lung cancer. Other health effects Silicosis (a scarring or inflammation of the lungs caused by inhaling silica dust), pulmonary tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and autoimmune disease (rheumatoid arthritis). BERYLLIUM Occupations at risk Beryllium mining workers; beryllium alloy production workers; metal products manufacturing; electronic equipment production; welders; grinders; sandblasters; machinists; dental workers; jewellers; construction workers, electricians. Associated cancers Lung cancer. Other health effects Acute beryllium disease (resembles pneumonia); chronic beryllium disease (inflammatory lung disease that causes fibrosis); skin contact can lead to allergic response. Asbestos Time Bomb Warning The recent fire at a factory in West Perth issued a timely warning about the dangers of asbestos still prevalent in our community. As the old asbestos roof exploded, potentially deadly fibres were strewn all over the area. Local residents in units and homes had to be evacuated. There are more time bombs like the derelict factory in West Perth, many close to housing. Questions need to be asked of government and local councils as to why there aren t laws in place to enforce owners to have asbestos laden derelict buildings safely demolished? Construction Worker Winter 2012 Page 19

16 W A G E W AT C H with Joe McDonald Irish workers: Check your wage rates to be sure! It s sad to see Irish workers, who have been forced to leave their shores in search of work, being ripped off by the same type of greedy principals who ruined the Irish economy. Australia holds a special place in its heart for the Irish. Irish-Australians form the second largest ancestry group in Australia. So, it s sad to see Irish workers, who have been forced to leave their shores in search of work, being ripped off by the same type of greedy principals who ruined the Irish economy. We cannot stand by and see good honest workers ripped off with low wages, no conditions and empty promises. The stands shoulder to shoulder with Irish workers to ensure they are given a fair go. Lindsay Fraser, Assistant National Secretary of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union () advises that all Irish workers should join their union before commencing a job in the construction industry. Once upon a time the Irish were very strong unionists. A lot of the kids nowadays have been spoiled, he explained. Times were so good over in Ireland a few years ago that people coming to Australia to work aren t heavily unionised. They re being taken advantage of and we think it s a disgrace. They come out under two systems. One is the 457 temporary working visa and the other is the holiday visa. Employers say to them you should go and get an Australian business number, which in theory you can t do on a 457 working visa. As far as we re concerned, if they re on a 457 there are very strict laws about working conditions, pay and holidays. They shouldn t agree to get an ABN. Some employers then hold the threat over them of sending them home if they don t comply with their rules, he added. Lindsay Fraser urges all workers in the construction industry to join the union as soon as they arrive in Australia. Irish building protesting in Ireland Ni ceart go cur le cheile (There is no strength without unity) IRISH WORKERS: ARE YOU BEING PAID GOOD WAGES AND CONDITIONS? Some examples on union sites A Labourer s hourly rate is $33.04 Casual hourly rate with 25% loading is $41.30 A Carpenter s hourly rate is $34.21 Casual hourly rate with 25% loading is $42.76 A Bricklayers hourly rate is Casual hourly rate with 25% loading is $42.38 These are just base rates of pay and do not include entitlements that you should be getting such as superannuation, long service leave, redundancy, travel allowances and various site allowances. On union sites, as a member, you are also entitled to numerous benefits such as free travel insurance, ambulance cover, journey accident cover and more. HAVE YOU BEEN CONNED? Many Irish workers have been conned into accepting flat rates of pay many on an ABN. Some have been given empty promises of getting high paid work on major resource projects. The WA Government want to import more workers from Ireland with promises they are paid market rates and entitlements, yet there is little or no compliance to ensure this happens. If you are being ripped off call the office on or pay us a visit and pick up the latest wage sheets to check what you should be being paid. Construction Worker Winter 2012 Page 21

17 U N I O N N E W S with Mick Buchan troopers answer Legacy s call Legacy was formed in 1928 to primarily look after war widows and their dependents. It came about from a pledge made by surviving Diggers from World War One to care for the loved ones of their mates who were killed in action. Legacy s tireless and important work continues to this day in the face of extra responsibilities and funding shortfalls with little or no government help. Legacy does not hold a state Government contract and was bypassed in the $600m not-forprofits deal announced by Premier Coin Barnett in An unfortunate side-effect of that announcement was that people assume Legacy is being looked after by the state government, when in fact we continue to be almost totally reliant on the public and sympathetic businesses to support us, explained Legacy WA Fundraising Manager Richard Whitehead. Mr Barnett said hundreds of nongovernment organisations would be given the cash in order to raise the standard of their services by employing more and better qualified staff. The result is that other charities benefit to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars while Legacy, which has operated continuously in WA for 84 years, is left out in the cold. Legacy Perth approached our union earlier this year in desperate need of extra funding. They also told us that they were looking at taking on the additional responsibility of helping the partners and families of severely wounded armed forces personal, especially those who wouldn t be able to re-enter the workforce. The fact they couldn t get additional funding from the state government raised our ire. We also have a lot of ex-vets amongst our rank and file who respect the work legacy do. We approached our members at a meeting on the Fiona Stanley Hospital site and they supported a fundraising drive to help Legacy s plight. WA Assistant Secretary Joe McDonald says; Peter Tinley the ALP member for Willagee and former Major with the SAS spoke at the meeting and drew the correlation that like our armed services, the construction industry unacceptably loses too many workers in the course of their work and that construction workers The FSH crew generously vote up a contribution to Legacy. Mick Buchan hands a cheque to Marianne Brockwell Chairwoman of Torchbearers Legacy WA watched on by FSH delegate Ian Hawkins and Peter Tinley ALP member for Willagee. through their union are generous in looking after the families of victims. The workers at Fiona Stanley hospital generously donated a total of $18,000. It s a credit to all our members at FSH. Helping others less fortunate is the union way. Buchan continues: Well done to our members. They are a terrific example of what it means to be UNION. We hope to become involved again next year. The funds from this year will help Legacy to continue and expand their services and to begin renovating the accommodation at the Legacy beach camp in Busselton which provides a welcome respite for families of ex-servicemen and women. A peaceful place to see the sun set for those who will never see it rise again. If you wish to help Legacy Perth contact them on Construction Worker Winter 2012 Page 23

18 Let s start with the Chinese on the shop floor. They are generally good natured and upbeat which is quite remarkable considering they only have two weeks off every six months. There are some good staunch boys amongst them who huddled up with everyone else over the toilets constantly overflowing. A certain section of the management is more inclined to have a master and servant relationship with their workforce. The slow Safety on site is like being in a time warp. It is preached but very rarely enforced, a huge contrast after BHP. Most contractors are doing the right thing with the blokes money with one major exception Diab, who are undermining everything the union movement has worked long and hard for by paying a flat rate with no Sino Iron/MCC/CCI think they can stomp all over people but that s not the case. The relentless pounding of the beat by Brad Upton and Phil Kennedy is a constant reminder that the are here to stay. Just recently at a meeting outside the gate, there were threats of withdrawal of accommodation, harassment and intimidation by the CCI representative John Lang, who kept numbers outside the gate at our meeting low. The core rank and file members persistently educate the younger members that all the conditions they now enjoy have been hard fought and won by the union and its members, and are not to be taken for granted. Any young members out there - read our book If you don t fight, you lose ask Brad or Phil for a copy! In summary comrades, people are listening, people are joining with 100 members at the gate having a bbq A concerned rank and file member who only loves his family more than he loves his country. LETTER FROM CAPE PRESTON with Brad Upton & Phil Kennedy DEAR FELLOW MEMBERS, Cape Preston is an hour s drive south of Karratha, this is where the problem starts. The food quality is below standard, the rooms are not cleaned or maintained properly, the ISS staff are undermanned and overworked, communications only became adequate three and a half years after the camp started. CCI s John Lang pictured here hard at work! progress is being put on the workforce and not on the poor design and workmanship of the components coming from overseas. Even though safety standards are poor, the majority of the boys keep the bar raised and don t tolerate the bullshit from safety. Serious safety issues aren t reported but minor injuries are. entitlements. And to the disgust of everyone on site, sacked five crane drivers for not coming to work on ANZAC day! Yes, you heard me right, sacked for not coming to work on ANZAC day! This site is like most others, you have to look after yourself and your mates, because no one else will do it for you. To watch him chasing a female member around an lawful union meeting was the lowest act that I have ever seen in my thirty years in construction! and a few beers which is a great night out at Sino. The tremendous effort by Brad and Phil is much appreciated, the long hours must be hell but we need you to keep up the good work. Yours sincerely, PS To Mr. John Lang and the CCI, you won t beat us, we are union through and through, we are the. Footnote: An application has been filed to pursue the action against the 5 crane workers sacked on Anzac day the is perusing the case on their behalf. Watch this space. Construction Worker Winter 2012 Page 25

19 U N I O N N E W S with Joe McDonald Worker Boiled to Death: Chevron fined $350 USA Labor leaders are outraged over a California worker-safety agency s decision to fine Chevron only $350 for an accident that resulted in an employee being sucked underground and boiled to death. Construction supervisor Robert David Dave Taylor was walking through a Kern County oil field last June when he fell through a patch of ground softened by Chevron s injection of steam into the earth for oil-extraction purposes. Taylor died as a result of being immersed in a cauldron of oil fluids, according to The Los Angeles Times. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) conducted an investigation and concluded that Chevron didn t violate any laws. Cal/OSHA then reopened the case after the state s oil and gas agency encouraged another review because of concerns that the oil field represented a safety hazard to the public. After conducting its second review of the incident, Cal/OSHA ordered the oil company to pay $350 for failing to properly warn its workers about the dangers of sinkholes opening up as a result of steam injection. Ed Crane, secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 12-6, the union that represents oil field workers, said the state let Chevron off the hook way too easy. A guy died, for God s sake. If people aren t being trained properly, how does $350 handle that? Chevron is not going to pay attention to that, Crane added. Peter Melton, a spokesman for Cal/OSHA, defended the decision, saying that Taylor and two co-workers who were with him when he was sucked in were aware that they were entering a potentially dangerous area. L E T T E R F R O M B A R R O W with Brad Upton & Phil Kennedy Barrow members unite and win STANDING UNITED: THE KT CREW ON BARROW ISLAND To our officials, The members on Barrow Island are constructing a 34" gas pipeline for KT Pipelines. After exhausting all avenues regarding suspended loads left hanging overnight, the issue, after 5 months has finally been resolved to the satisfaction of the members. It took dogged determination by the members who all chose to remain united throughout the dispute to overcome the company's unwillingness to comply with Australian Standards. The members were pushed to the point of raising the "disputes procedure" with the company. The legal representatives were contacted to present the case, for the members. After this move the company eventually saw reason to eliminate the problem that they had created with poor planning. Our thanks go to the North-West organiser Brad Upton and OHS officer Steve McCann and the legal department. Their advice and wisdom was greatly appreciated in this matter. Thanks for your support, The KT crew. Barrow Island Construction Worker Winter 2012 Page 27

20 Page 28 Construction Worker Winter 2012

21 Proud to be Irish...Proud to be Union! Construction Worker Winter 2012 Page 29

22 S A F E T Y N E W S with Steve McCann Enforceable Undertakings Consistent with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (the Act) and Comcare Regulation Policy, Comcare may accept an enforceable undertaking from a duty holder instead of commencing civil proceedings for an alleged breach of the Act. Enforceable undertakings may also be used in appropriate circumstances to adjourn or resolve civil proceedings that are already underway. John Holland have accepted Comcare s proposal of enforceable undertakings with regard to an accident where a worker was killed at the Mt Whaleback mine in 2009, when he fell through unsecured gird mesh, despite 2 unreported near misses relating to the grid mesh installation. This means that John Holland agree to terms set out by Comcare, including an independent audit of their systems, public notices informing the public of the terms of the agreement and to pick up Comcare s expenses. In return there will be no attempt to convict them in Federal Court. Justice...not in my book. No black mark in the way of a conviction and they still go on, being awarded more work, despite killing another worker here in Perth at the beginning of I wonder if a soft option will be provided for this latest indiscretion?? The system is failing our workforce, how many more workers have to pay with their lives before something is done? Holland attempt to portray themselves as industry leaders, but as history will tell you, the only area that they are standout leaders in is workplace fatalities. The WA Government continues to give John Holland the green light by awarding them more and more work. Time for a new government and new choice of preferred contractor, I say! M E M B E R B E N E F I T S with Mick Buchan Save with FREE Travel Insurance HBF TRAVEL INSURANCE UP TO $528! RAC $530! FREE! No matter how you add it up WA membership saves you a heap on travel insurance because as a member it s free. A trip to BALI over the Christmas period for a month with HBF for 2 adults and 2 children can cost around $528, a trip to the USA with RAC for 2 adults and 2 children can cost up to $530. Whatever quotes you get from elsewhere, remember travel insurance is always FREE for financial members. Just one trip can more than pay for your membership. Join now. Call Construction Worker Winter 2012 Page 31

23 S A F E T Y S H O C K E R S with Steve McCann Cheap imported crane failure An entire deck without adequate edge protection... acceptable according to visiting WorkSafe inspectors. Where s Wally? I mean Worksafe! An open edge on a site in the middle of Perth CBD. A safe system of work??...no idea. Again, in Worksafe s backyard. An example of what some builders class as workplace amenities. Erecting steel with a forklift on an open edge... running cable from the road, no traffic management. These companies are winning work ahead of EBA companies! Value for money? Some builders idea of a distribution board site in the middle of Perth CBD... Flintstone style REPORT UNSAFE SITES: CALL STEVE McCANN ON Page 32 Construction Worker Winter 2012

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