Day Two of strike action in Gladstone

A second day of protest is underway at Gladstone, with CFMEU members still striking at the ferry terminals where workers are transported to gas plants on Curtis Island.

Workers are unsatisfied with the progress of Enterprise Bargaining Agreement negotiations, in which Bechtel have only agreed to change to a 3/1 roster during the last six months of the next three years of the projects.

Yesterday picketing workers were caused 15 buses transporting local workers to the ferry terminals to stop, while drivers refused to allow passengers off the buses.

The Gladstone Observer said several workers suffered anxiety attacks, while another wet his pants, and eventually workers were allowed off the buses for 20 minutes.

There are numerous reports of protesters spitting, abusing and throwing rocks, however just as many witness reports say that these things did not happen.

Branch secretary Jade Ingham said he did not witness any of the behaviour described.

“I was on both community protest lines and I didn’t see any of that. I think a few boys got a bit excited but I didn’t see any of it,” he said.

The protected action undertaken by the CFMEU has suffered no end of abuse on Facebook and the Gladstone Observer comments sections, from accusations that workers are merely trying to extend the length of the project, to suggestions that because they already signed an EBA agreement they have to agree to the same conditions for the next.

Bechtel have previously threatened to indefinitely lock-out workers who participate in strike action.

Unions representing workers on Curtis Island have determined to negotiate for a change from 4/1 to 3/1 roster in order to allow FIFO workers to spend more time with their families at home, and reduce the risk of work related depression and potential suicide.

Last week saw reports of a worker who committed suicide in his room in the worker camp at Barrow Island, and another man was found dead in his room at the Gateway Village in South Hedland in July.

If you feel like you're having problems with depression or coping at work, or if you think someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or the Suicide Call Back Line on 1300 659 467.

Image: Gladstone Observer

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