Contractors refuse to work on Anzac Day

Downer Engineering has backed off threats to discipline workers after some planned to defy orders to show up for work on Anzac Day.

The Electrical Trade Union said Downer told workers at the Macedon project in WA that all staff must work the public holiday and requests for leave would be denied.


Downer allegedly posted signs on site warning workers not to take unauthorised leave, but backed off threats at the end of Wednesday, and said it would not discipline staff who did not show up for work.


Electrical Trade Union secretary Les McLaughlan said the reasons for the company's change of heart were unclear, but the contractor most likely made the switch after discovering the extent of workforce anger.


“This decision has been forced on workers with no consultation whatsoever and takes away the rights of workers to choose whether they want to work,” he said.


“It is particularly unfair for workers who have been a member of the armed forces and served overseas, or had family members who have done so.”


“Members across the State tell us they have never worked on Anzac Day in their lives and they don't plan to.” 


The Australian Mines and Metals Association said while leave requests were granted when possible, resource workers know when they sign up for jobs that work may be required on public holidays.


Downer Engineering said Anzac Day had been a rostered work day at the fly-in fly-out camp on the north-west shelf.


Last year five workers on the Sino Iron Ore project in the Pilbara were fired after not attending work on Anzac Day.


DIAB Engineering fired the staff after they declined an opportunity to apply for leave and did not show up for work.

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