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Subcontractors and CFMEU out in the cold on building collapse

By johnboy 29 October 2008 28

The ABC is carrying an epic whinge by the CFMEU in the wake of the Civic building collapse.

    “CFMEU national safety expert Martin Kingham has been denied entry to the site by the builder Leighton Contractors.

    Mr Kingham says he is concerned for the safety of workers and wants Leighton Contractors to let him on site to inspect the collapse.

    He also claims workers at the site are not being paid.

    “I was greeted by about a dozen workers who can’t go to work,” he said.

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Subcontractors and CFMEU out in the cold on building collapse
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Passy 9:07 pm 30 Oct 08

Affordable

You say: “maybe if the CFMEU was a law abiding organisation in their other activities they would not be in the position of being denied access.”

Hmm. The Howard Government spent $66m on the Cole Royal Commission to fit up the CFMEU. There has not been one prosecution. (Other than an employer.)

So much for not being a law abiding organisation. And would the Raiders accept money from the CFMEU if they had this alleged taint of illegality. Of course not. These accusations are part of an attempt to smash a union that defends its members. Bosses in teh building industry are not exactly angels.

This is not about the CFMEU using OH&S to get more control. (And so what if it were?) It is about the CFMEU performing its legitimate function, making sure the employer delivers a safe work place.

After all, in whose interest is it to have a safe workplace? Workers for sure. But some bosses might be tempted to cut safety corners to make a little more profit.

affordable 5:12 pm 30 Oct 08

even if they dont rip off the worker, they will attract CFMEU attention anyway and they will make something up to remind you who is the boss

tylersmayhem 3:49 pm 30 Oct 08

Unions are fundamentally wrong in any workplace where skilled labour is required.

Until the employer decides to start ripping off ALL employees, then the naysayers become interested.

LlamaFrog 3:10 pm 30 Oct 08

Union labour, collective bargaining so the least productive worker gets the same pay as the most productive. Unions are fundamentally wrong in any workplace where skilled labour is required.

affordable 2:55 pm 30 Oct 08

maybe if the CFMEU was a law abiding organisation in their other activties they would not be in the position of being denied access

VicePope 1:54 pm 30 Oct 08

Whatever happened, and is happening, looks a hundred times worse if the builder is trying to keep the union out. There is a manifest issue of workplace safety, in which the uniom has a role and considerable expertise. Locking them out makes it look like there’s something to hide.

AG Canberra 11:40 am 30 Oct 08

Clearly no work is being done at the site at the moment. I reckon the CFMEU would be better served doing the inspection before work starts up again (and having that inspection done by a scaffolding expert of their choosing). At that point there really shouldn’t be an argument from Leightons if they are providing a safe workplace…..

tylersmayhem 11:26 am 30 Oct 08

From the ABC artice: “The union says there was a smaller formwork collapse at the same Leighton Contractors construction site about two weeks ago.” The construction company has confirmed the earlier incident occured but will not comment further as it is being investigated by ACT WorkCover.

What a bunch of cowboys. What did I say about Leighton sticking to building roads in the other thread?

Mr Evil 11:21 am 30 Oct 08

barking toad said :

CFMEU is about control of work sites – O H & S is a tool used to achieve this

And threats of violence – that’s also a good tool used within the costruction industry.

barking toad 11:18 am 30 Oct 08

CFMEU is about control of work sites – O H & S is a tool used to achieve this

tylersmayhem 11:09 am 30 Oct 08

I can’t see why the company would keep them out. Surely safety is paramount.

I also wholeheartedly concur! This stinks of a cover-up!

LG 9:21 am 30 Oct 08

Thumper said :

I can’t see why the company would keep them out. Surely safety is paramount.

Agreed, although perhaps the particular rep didn’t have the appropriate skills to inform a safety investigation that is already being undertaken by workcover?

Thumper 8:36 am 30 Oct 08

A union is representing its workers. I’d be interested in knowing how the building collapsed

I can’t see why the company would keep them out. Surely safety is paramount.

Passy 8:26 am 30 Oct 08

The Canberra Times says Leightons denied the CFMEU expert on health and safety access because he is not from the CAT and an authorised ACT union rep had already been on. IR laws allow this denial.

Bloody hell. This is about finding out if there are fundamental problems on this site, and problems that may be being replicated around Australia. people’s lives are at risk.

I suspect, but admit i don’t know – the CFMEU may ahve figures – that since the ABCC and tighter access law came making it harder for unions to police safety on site that death and injury rates on building sites have gone up.

verbalkint 7:08 am 30 Oct 08

Pandy said :

I thought that CFMEU contractors are responsible for putting up the scaffolding? Oh they wont take responsibility and will blame the non-union bosses?

The CFMEU doesn’t own any building businesses, the sub-contractor responsible, K-Form, are a South Australian company who have just started working in the ACT recently.

verbalkint 7:07 am 30 Oct 08

Aeek said :

I found this odd
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/10/28/2403814.htm
“What we’re asking for now is that on each construction site there should be urgent audit of all safety committees to ensure that all formwork structures conform with NSW codes of practice.”
Um, we’re in the ACT.

The ACT doesnt have formwork codes of practice (they are expensive and workcover here in the ACT doesnt have the resources to develop new codes) so we use the NSW workcover codes of practice or the Australian Standards in many areas of construction.

Pandy 12:01 am 30 Oct 08

I thought that CFMEU contractors are responsible for putting up the scaffolding? Oh they wont take responsibility and will blame the non-union bosses?

Aeek 11:35 pm 29 Oct 08

I found this odd
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/10/28/2403814.htm
“What we’re asking for now is that on each construction site there should be urgent audit of all safety committees to ensure that all formwork structures conform with NSW codes of practice.”
Um, we’re in the ACT.

tom-tom 11:17 pm 29 Oct 08

dammit now i have to agree with passy

people die on worksites; and it’s damm lucky people didn’t die on this one…. and if the union is being blocked from protecting its members then damm well should be whinging about it.

this is the aspect of the whole ABCC/workchoices rubbish that winds me up the most; union safety inspectors save lives and they need access to worksites to do it. in this case they are being denied access to a site which could potentially endanger their members, this isn’t a complicated issue.

damm right they should be whinging.

Passy 11:05 pm 29 Oct 08

Why do you call this a whinge?

A union is representing its workers. I’d be interested in knowing how the building collapsed.

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