Unions protest after sackings at Bechtel

Unions are protesting against what they say are unfair dismissals by Bechtel after multiple workers were sacked from the company’s Curtis Island operations.

Bechtel said the most recent worker to be dismissed on Monday had committed safety breaches while working at heights, The Observer reported.

However the CMFEU argue the dismissal was unfair, claiming Bechtel is getting rid of workers who objected to the company’s practices.

Union members gathered at Port Curtis Way yesterday, near where the workers’ ferry leaves for Curtis Island. The protestors said they were concerned the sackings were unfair.

Bechtel Gladstone general manager Kevin Berg insisted the worker had been involved in an unacceptable safety breach.

"A comprehensive investigation was performed as part of the process which included supervision and representatives from the workforce," he said.

A rally was also held in late November after three workers were sacked.

The union said the sackings came after a dispute over safety.

CFMEU official Ben Loakes claim safety issues were going to led to a death on the island.

"We've had workers targeted over bringing up safety issues with their employer,” he said.

"All Bechtel have done is remove the blokes that are being proactive on the job," Loakes said.

"They've singled out and attacked the three most active blokes who are making Bechtel accountable."

Berg said the unions' allegations were outrageous.

"The employees concerned were dismissed, in accordance with disciplinary procedures, because of repeated violations of project work rules," he said. "We stand by that decision."

Protests at the site are expected to continue today.

In November, the mining contract engineering company announced it was planning to hire between 100 and150 new workers each week to build its gas plants on Curtis Island.

Currently Bechtel already employs about 8300 people, a number they’re looking to increase to 8800 workers.

Bechtel is running three major projects, including Australian Pacific LNG, Gladstone LNG and Queensland Curtis LNG.

Image: The Observer

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