Showdown looms as union entry attempts denied

News

Showdown looms as union entry attempts denied

A major showdown is looming today between the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and a major Gold Coast boat builder over the company's refusal to allow officials to inspect health and safety conditions on the site.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

A major showdown is looming today between the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and a major Gold Coast boat builder over the company's refusal to allow officials to inspect health and safety conditions on the site.

The union wanted to investigate breaches of the Queensland Workplace Health and Safety Act by Riviera Marine at Coomera on Friday, but two of its officials were denied entry. Another attempt to visit the site will be made today.

AMWU State Secretary Andrew Dettmer said that based on members reports the union 'reasonably suspects' there are problems with manual handling practices, working at heights, the storage and use of chemicals and the availability of Material Safety Data Sheets where chemicals are stored.

'We have reports of falls from heights, apprentices being forced to wash down toilets and other areas with acetone, problems with the manual handling of heavy and awkward objects, problems with the availability of Material Safety Data Sheets where dangerous chemicals are stored, and even of fibre glass powder build-up in the working environment,' Dettmer said.

Legal rights

'This is a significant list of concerns and we intend to find out just what risks workers at this company face each day. We are entitled to do that under Queensland law and tomorrow morning we will exercise our legal right and our moral obligation to check if this company is meeting its occupational health and safety obligations.

'It has clearly not always met these obligations, because in 2004-05 it was fined $30,000 for breaching section 28(1) of the Workplace Health and Safety Act.'

Dettmer said Friday's obstruction of the AMWU officers was illegal and the union has raised the matter with the State Department of Industrial Relations.

'We have sought the assistance of the inspectors when our officers again seek entry to the Riviera site,' Dettmer said.

Outrageous

'Friday's action was all the more outrageous because we even gave the company two days written notice we were coming, which we are not obliged to do. We could have turned up unannounced if we wanted to.'

'There have been issues at this site in the past and our members tell us there still are. We will not let this company illegally stop us from checking,' Mr Dettmer said.

Riviera is a major power-boat builder in the Gold Coast marine precinct at Coomera and employs about 1000 people.

Related

Right of entry of union officials

Proposed Federal right of entry laws attacked

WorkChoices updates - what you need to know - Union right of entry

 



 

  

 

Post details