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Day labour on the bridge works

By johnboy - 7 September 2010 10

The Canberra Times has a snippet on claims by the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union that “up to half” the workers on the GDE bridge collapse were day labourers getting $40 an hour cash in hand.

One would like to think major public works would be a little better organised.

What’s Your opinion?


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10 Responses to
Day labour on the bridge works
WillowJim 8:20 pm 07 Sep 10

Martlark said :

The collapse was caused by poor design of the formwork. Membership of a union, some lame safety briefing or even getting paid officially would not have kept the bridge up

Too true. Many here have applied the bogus syllogism, “Company X caused the bridge to collapse. Company X pays its builders illegally. Therefore, paying builders illegally causes bridges to collapse.”

Martlark said :

Having a government owned corporation doing everything is simply a recipee for massive labor/union corruption.

But here you indulge in the same sort of generalisation of which you rightly accuse others. Effectively managed public sector companies can be very efficient, but they’re rarely compared with the private sector on fair terms (how many private companies face the same accountability requirements?).

Martlark 2:28 pm 07 Sep 10

The collapse was caused by poor design of the formwork. Membership of a union, some lame safety briefing or even getting paid officially would not have kept the bridge up. Having a government owned corporation doing everything is simply a recipee for massive labor/union corruption. Learn by history, not by ignorance.

Gungahlin Al 2:26 pm 07 Sep 10

caf said :

This is exactly what you get when public works are outsourced to the private sector.

It’s certainly more economically efficient to pay day labourers cash-in-hand.

But Caf, private enterprise can do anything better than the public service can. Surely you haven’t missed both ALP and Liberal governments at all levels preaching this to us for 20 years now??

And if they both said it, it must be true, no?

[/sarcasm]

builder 2:02 pm 07 Sep 10

The concreters arrive towards the end of the bridge building process. There job is to place the concrete in the propped formwork and finish the surface as ordered. If the bridge building took say 6 months, the concreters would be there a week tops.

When large pours are on, a concrete contractor will seek to augment his existing gang by bringing in part timers to assist. These part timers would be the one receiving cash in hand. It actually safer to have extra hands available to handle the pump, vibrators, trowel machines etc. This is the same as retail stores putting extra staff on for the Christmas rush.

The majority of the labour employed to do the excavation, formwork , steel fixing and propping would be full time employees, with white cards. These guys are the ones that would have undergone the site induction, union visits etc.

The full time workforce is responsible for the structural integrity. The concreters place their faith in the main contractor and the full time workforce. These are the guys that ended up in hospital, not the full timers who work on the bridge , day in and day out.

The union is scaremongering by saying the workers were getting paid cash and they didn’t receive the site induction. This would have made no difference if the structure erected by the full timers wasn’t sound. The cash would have only been paid to the part timers. Who wouldn’t sit on a trowel machine or a screed for $400 cash per day.

The unions role is to look after the workers, not to spread hysteria.

Rawhide Kid Part3 1:02 pm 07 Sep 10

Tetranitrate said :

At the very least, have a public company through which maintenance and construction of public infrastructure is performed. –

And employ more local labour…..

Tetranitrate 12:36 pm 07 Sep 10

Uh. From the look of it it would be better if the government was entirely responsible for projects like this and only employed contractors directly, none of this subcontracting BS.

At the very least, have a public company through which maintenance and construction of public infrastructure is performed. – under that sort of arrangement it might actually be possible for someone to be held responsible for screw-ups, even if it’s a minister.

p1 11:56 am 07 Sep 10

How do big construction companies structure their finances, such that they can have large amounts of cash going out without receipts coming in to account for it? Surely the tax office is suspicious when enough cash to pay a dozen workers is spent each month on “misc expenses”?

It isn’t like an electrician of builder, who can take cash from a customer and use that to pay their labourer under the table. Please tell me that ACT Roads aren’t paying for the bridge in cash…

caf 11:13 am 07 Sep 10

This is exactly what you get when public works are outsourced to the private sector.

It’s certainly more economically efficient to pay day labourers cash-in-hand.

Rawhide Kid Part3 10:28 am 07 Sep 10

For some reason, I’m not surprised.

Spectra 9:47 am 07 Sep 10

There was a fellow from the union on News Radio this morning claiming that most of them hadn’t received the required safety briefing prior to the pour. Worse, they’d been visited in hospital later and asked to sign paperwork saying that they had, in fact, received said briefing.

I’d feel better if I didn’t suspect that this kind of thing is pretty much par for the course, and only comes out when things go pear-shaped.

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