Workers and sub-contractors of troubled New South Wales firm Reed Constructions have picketed next to major highways as part of demands for wages and other payments owing to them for work on major New South Wales road construction projects.
In February, media reports suggested that Reed was on the verge of collapse, leaving around 1,500 contractors out of pocket to the tune of $60-80 million for work on major government road projects.
Last week, New South Wales Roads Minister Duncan Gay tore up the company’s contracts with the government, including works on the Great Western Highway, the Central Coast Highway, the Newcastle Inner City Bypass and Alfords Point Bridge.
Following the move, according to a report on Australian Associated Press, around 50 of Reed’s sub-contractors gathered at some of the building sites.
The Construction, Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CMFEU) wants to make certain that all entitlements are paid before the government is able to appoint another builder to the job.
“No one has talked about the payment of contractors or the re-engagement of labourers’ jobs,” CFMEU assistant secretary Rebel Hanlon says. “The community is right behind us in getting the workers paid.”
On Monday morning, around 20 people rallied on the Great Western Highway at Hazelbrook in the Blue Mountains while a further 20 picketed the Central Coast Highway at Hazelbrook at Erina and half a dozen held up signs at Sandgate near Newcastle.