Pilbara strikes were illegal: CCI

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The industrial action staged by Pilbara workers at CITIC Pacific’s Sino Iron project this week was illegal, according to The Western Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

WA CCI general manager of advocacy David Harrison told the ABC CFMEU heavyweight Joe McDonald and workers had broken the law in taking action.

Harrison said McDonald did not have a permit to lawfully enter construction or mining sites in WA.

"The workers that have gone off on strike, and we understand there’s about 40 or 50 of them, they’ve mounted unlawful industrial action," he said.

"We’ll be strongly urging the construction watchdog, the ABCC, to investigate Joe McDonald’s activities because this, as far as we’re concerned, is a blatant breaking of the law."

Initial news of the strike reported around 200 workers involved in industrial action, but this number was later revised by CITIC Pacific and the CCI.

According to the ABC Sino employees walked off the job after being told they would be docked wages.

At the union meeting McDonald discussed health and safety concerns, and wage disparities with workers.

According to The West Australian one employee said workers were angry over the lower pay offered to foreign workers for the same job and moves to extend shifts from 10.5 hours to 12 hours.

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