Melbourne CBD came to a standstill this week as construction workers rallied to bring attention to the need for safety on construction sites.
According to reports up to 10,000 construction workers took part in the march which was organised by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and was sparked by a number of safety incidents and concerns especially surrounding construction company Grocon.
The march which began at 10am on Tuesday at the Trades Hall in Carlton proceeded on to a Grocon site in Swanston Street where 3 pedestrians were killed when a wall collapsed and ended at the offices of WorkSafe.
However not everyone was in favour of the march with Premier Denis Napthine condemning the rally and labelling it as beneath contemptible. He also condemned the march for “politicising” a tragedy which claimed the lives of 2 innocent pedestrians recently.
This is what the Premier had to say according to a post on www.theage.com.au
Premier Denis Napthine denounced the rally as ‘‘beneath contempt’’, saying to use the tragedy that occurred at the CUB site in March ‘‘for a union-based political rally’’ as unacceptable.
‘‘It is beneath contempt. It is absolutely digusting, totally unacceptable, and an insult to the people who lost their lives,’’ Mr Napthine said.
‘‘They should not be using the deaths of innocent people [in this way].’’
Asked if Grocon sites were less safe than other construction companies work sites, Mr Napthine did not respond, instead saying that WorkSafe did an excellent job of making Victorian workplaces safe.
The crowd of unionists and supporters then stopped at Grocon’s Lonsdale Street Emporium site where crane driver Bill Ramsay died earlier this year and observed a moment of silence there. The crane driver fell to his death from the crane in February and the actual cause of the death has not been discovered.
Warnings from the federal industry regulator, Fair Work Building and Construction that employees who attended the rally needed their employer’s permission to leave the worksite weren’t paid much attention by workers, who marched in solidarity despite warnings.
Grocon has also released a statement attacking the actions of the CFMEU and its members. They also defended their safety record.
The post went on to state:
Grocon released a statement criticising the CFMEU, state’s biggest building union, over the rally, which targets Grocon’s safety record.
WorkSafe is among four organisations investigating the collapse, but the union argues it is already showing signs of covering up the failures that led to the wall’s collapse. WorkSafe rejects the accusations, this morning releasing a statement saying its investigation would take much more time.
“Given the complexity of the task it remains in its relatively early stages and will take some time to complete,” the statement read.
“WorkSafe accepts that the tragic circumstances of the deaths of Alexander and Bridget Jones and Marie-Faith Fiawoo create a strong desire for immediate answers, but this desire cannot jeopardise a comprehensive and thorough investigation.”
Premier Denis Napthine has condemned this morning’s march, saying that politicising the three deaths at the CUB site was “disgusting” and “beneath contempt”.