WICET workers call indefinite strike over safety worries

SAFETY concerns are plaguing construction on the Wiggins Island wharf project and workers at the site have gone on strike indefinitely.

More than 140 Monadelphous Muhibbah Marine (MMM) sub-contractors have staged a sit-in while waiting for unions to negotiate on what they consider to be potentially life-threatening concerns.

Meanwhile, WorleyParsons has been dumped as manager of the problem-prone coal terminal development despite the wharf being 60% complete.

The Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET) had problems with Abi/Golding Joint Venture workers raising similar concerns back in March.

CFMEU Gladstone official Ben Loakes said the MMM workers felt their safety had been severely compromised for months without any resolution.

"One problem is with a piling dolly with severe cracks - the integrity has been compromised and the workers have refused to use it, but they're being pressured to use it," he said.

One worker, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Observer they felt striking was the only option.

"None of us like that, but this is the only option the company has left us," he said.

"We're worried about one of our fellow workers dying on the job."

A WICET spokesman said MMM management was working to resolve any concerns quickly and effectively.

A project spokesman said it was mutually agreed to transfer WorleyParsons management to a single, integrated, Gladstone-based WICET team to oversee the project.

Key concerns

  • Non-trained workers used as deckhands
  • A stand-by rescue boat used for transfers
  • Workers climbing up tyres to access barges
  • Fatigue management with rostering