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Union battles builder at the National Gallery

By johnboy - 17 March 2009 22

The ABC brings word of trouble at the vast construction site we used to call the National Gallery of Australia.

The problem started last week when a crane dropped a concrete slab. This is a big deal on construction sites and the union wants to inspect, while the builder Manteena is holding out against the intrusion:

    Manteena said WorkCover assessed the crane and declared it safe to operate.

    Today the union will try to enter the site to inspect more than 60 alleged safety breaches.

    But Manteena says the union is waging a dishonest campaign against it and it has an excellent safety record.

(Photograph taken on Boxing Day 2008)

UPDATED: The ABC now reports that there’s been a scaffolding accident on the site today resulting in injured ribs.

What’s Your opinion?


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22 Responses to
Union battles builder at the National Gallery
dexi 4:48 pm 17 Mar 09

Clownkiller “It’s the company that bears the legal responsibility for the safety of the people on its site,”

They may bear the legal responsibility but it is the workers who actual bear the responsibility to work safe. Each individual worker has to access his own safety and that of those working around him. The union is in a good position to put forward the workers concerns. If the company involved is stopping them from addressing work safety then I think some questions should be asked as to why.

My guess is they don’t want to risk a delay to the schedule. Less political, more about money.

jakez 3:54 pm 17 Mar 09

I agree with Granny.

Clown Killer 3:43 pm 17 Mar 09

Too true Granny. My favourite is “have you brushed your teeth yet? – You have! Great well then come over here and let me smell your deliciously minty fresh breath …” I usually don’t have to finish the sentence before I can hear the tap running in the bathroom.

Granny 3:36 pm 17 Mar 09

P.S. When it comes to finding the truth, I was always taught to look not listen.

Oh, ho!

You say you’ve cleaned your room and you can go out to play, hmmm?

Let’s have a look.

But wait ….

Hark and lo!

What is this stuffed under the bed, my good offspring?

Granny 3:29 pm 17 Mar 09

As a single mother I had some exceedingly bad experiences with the effects of strikes back in the 80’s, so I am as far removed from your traditional union supporter as north is from south.

In fact, if you wanted to make me really, really angry you only had to mention the word ‘union’. Too bad if you were referring to the British flag …. *Tee hee* But I digress!

I have just come to realise over the last few years how much tireless work the few unsung union reps do on behalf of the many individuals that come to them for help with injustices that are too big for them alone.

I am all for balance, and that necessarily does include the existence and involvement of trade unions.

It still seems to me that it is the company that is playing the political games with the stakes being safety.

There wouldn’t be any need for games if they just let the representatives of those workers that are union members inspect the site.

How bad can it be to double check?

Clown Killer 2:57 pm 17 Mar 09

Granny I suspect that your are using the term “workers” to mean “union members”. Whilst they can be both they are not all both.

This appears, on face value, to be an essentially political excercise on the part of the union rather than being about the safety of construction workers. That’s fine. But so is the choice of the company to not play political games.

Granny 2:38 pm 17 Mar 09

The whole point is that the workers, the people who have to trust their lives to the place, are obviously not satisfied, and if they are so wrong about that then why not let their representatives take a look.

The stakes are much higher for the workers, who are potentially going to be brained by concrete slabs, than for any of the other stakeholders.

The company is going to waste just as much time arguing about it as if they just demonstrated good faith in the first place by acquiescing to the request.

old canberran 2:15 pm 17 Mar 09

Great photo. Was that on a balloon flight Jb?

monomania 1:38 pm 17 Mar 09

Clown Killer said :

It’s the company that bears the legal responsibility for the safety of the people on its site, and is, in my view the entity best placed to decide how that goal is achieved. If the company’s happy, and Workcover are happy then there really doesn’t seem to be any need to take things further.

Leave it up to those benevolent employers and the A.C.T. Government’s Workcover. No wonder the CFMEU wants access.

Clown Killer 1:16 pm 17 Mar 09

I suspect we’re arguing at cross purposes here.

If Workcover – who are the legally appointed statutory body responsible for investigating possible breaches of work place safety and enforcing the law have conducted an investigation – as it is claimed – and if they are happy that the crane is safe then I don’t see that anybody’s interests are served by having a duplicate investigation.

Construction sites are, as you suggest potentially dangerous places and the company has a responsibility to manage the risks associated with getting the job done and the safety of their staff and contractors. It’s the company that bears the legal responsibility for the safety of the people on its site, and is, in my view the entity best placed to decide how that goal is achieved. If the company’s happy, and Workcover are happy then there really doesn’t seem to be any need to take things further.

colourful sydney rac 1:06 pm 17 Mar 09

Granny said :

I disagree. If I was representing a group of people with safety concerns in a dangerous industry, I would want to satisfy myself of the actual risk.

I would certainly not want to return to the days when human life was secondary to the expediency of a corporation.

Often the only person who will listen to somebody is their union rep. Workers aren’t stupid. If they think something’s dangerous it probably is.

+1

Granny 12:50 pm 17 Mar 09

I disagree. If I was representing a group of people with safety concerns in a dangerous industry, I would want to satisfy myself of the actual risk.

I would certainly not want to return to the days when human life was secondary to the expediency of a corporation.

Often the only person who will listen to somebody is their union rep. Workers aren’t stupid. If they think something’s dangerous it probably is.

Clown Killer 12:23 pm 17 Mar 09

I doubt that it’s a case of not having anything to hide Granny. If the appropriate Government people from Workcover or wherever have checked it out and it’s been given the thumbs up, then there’s really nothing more to do and the company probably just wants to get on with the job rather than having to deal with a bunch of visitors on site hosting their own unessessary investigations.

Granny 12:18 pm 17 Mar 09

If they have nothing to hide, why not let them in?

jakez 11:07 am 17 Mar 09

Sounds suss.

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