Issue #1567 3 October 2012
John Holland inflames situation
On September 18 a major accident involving a giant tower took place when a terminal fitting which attaches the crane rope to the jib failed, bringing down 50 metres of crane rope and a two ton crane block narrowly missing nearby workers. At the time of the incident, the Construction Division of the CFMEU attended the accident with Comcare.
A verbal agreement was entered into by the CFMEU and John Holland to gain an independent engineer’s report into the crane incident and the operation of another similar crane on the site to ensure future safety. Tensions were high amongst the workers given that Holland’s had had a death on their Northbridge link site earlier this year.
A few hours after reaching an agreement for an independent engineer’s report, John Holland’s reneged saying no information would be given to the union safety officer Steve McCann representing the workers; furthermore any requests for information should now be made through John Holland’s industrial relations department, therefore treating the issue as industrial rather than one of health and safety.
Fearful for their safety and given a lack of union representation to get to the bottom of the matter, the workers downed tools on the job – which led to a mass rally of support from over 800 workers on the site.
It can now be revealed that Holland conducted tests on the crane on September 20 and did not forward that information to the CFMEU – nothing was passed on to the union or the workers. CFMEU secretary Mick Buchan said John Holland exacerbated the situation and inflamed tensions unnecessarily. “If they had stuck to their verbal agreement none of this would need to have happened. Instead they knowingly had information in relation to safety tests on the crane and withheld it.
“The union always wanted this treated as a safety issue; Holland were hell-bent on turning it into an industrial matter. You have to ask them why?
Next article – TAFE cuts doubly bad for women, union says
Back to index page