Electricians call for ABCC to be reinstated to stop workers walking off sites

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9 May 2016

Master Electricians Australia is today calling for the return of the Australian Building Construction Commission (ABCC) on the back of yet another illegal strike being undertaken by more than 900 workers on the new $1.6 billion Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

Members of the CFMEU and ETU walked off the site on Thursday and for the fifth time workers have been subject to an order from the FWC to return to work since the project commenced in 2012.

On Friday, the Fair Work Commission granted an urgent application by Lendlease for workers on the hospital site to return to work, with the order set in place until August 2016 – the expected practical completion of the project.

MEA Manager of Advisory Services Jason O’Dwyer said this is a clear example of why the ABCC needs to be reinstated.

“The unions are blatantly flouting the laws with no respect for authority and the rules, and what we’re seeing is a barrier to productivity on our construction sites,” Mr O’Dwyer said.

“The ABCC is essential to productivity on construction sites around the country – that’s why we’re supporting the Turnbull Government in the call for it to be reinstated.

“With the Sunshine Coast Hospital dispute, we’re looking at a 738-bed hospital that costs $1.5 million a day with a workforce of over 900 employees refusing to return to work.

“We are concerned that this dispute is heading down a very similar path to that of the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane during the final stages of its completion – a dispute that lasted nine weeks and cost Queensland tax payers millions of dollars,” he said.

MEA understands no demands are being made by the workers, and there are no safety issues that have been identified.

“Put simply, at the start of the election campaign, the unions are demonstrating that no matter who wins the election, they will hold the power,” Mr O’Dwyer said.

“Mr Shorten is telling voters he wants to lead this country – perhaps he should first lead the Labor Party into the new economy by keeping the actions of these militant unions in check, and allowing for the provision of 738 urgently needed hospital beds for the Sunshine Coast community.”  

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