Australian contractor John Holland have been accused of withholding safety tests regarding the near fatal crane accident at the company’s Perth Children’s Hospital construction site.
The accident occurred after a tower crane terminal fitting failed, leaving a two tonne crane block to fall 50 metres, narrowly missing workers.
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) state that after initially agreeing to provide an independent engineer’s report regarding the accident, they later refused, which incited the rallying action. In a statement from the Union, they outlay this reasoning for industrial action.
“John Holland reneged, saying no information would be given to the union safety officer Steve McCann representing the workers,” the CFMEU say.
“The workers have had enough,” says CFMEU WA state secretary Mick Buchan.
Workers on the site downed tools in protest to the verbal agreement breakdown. While Fair Work Australia have since ordered an end to the industrial action, while ordering their own independent engineer’s report into the incident.
“If they had stuck to their verbal agreement, none of this (action) would need to have happened,” the CFMEU say. “Instead, they knowingly had information in relation to safety tests on the crane and withheld it.”
However, in response to the ongoing issues, Glenn Palin, John Holland group managing director has come forward assuring that the correct protocols have been followed and that any ‘unlawful industrial action’ will not be taken lightly.
“The incident which caused the dispute was immediately reported to the relevant workplace safety authorities and we continue to fully co-operate with authorities in their ongoing investigations,” say Palin. “The site has been cleared as safe for work to continue. We will continue to take the necessary action to prevent unlawful industrial action.”
While the worksite is confirmed to be clear and safe the issues between the Unions and the John Holland, are however, still fresh, with the former losing faith in the popular contractors.
Author; Tim Moore