Australian company John Holland has been accused of withholding safety tests regarding the near-fatal crane accident at the company’s Perth Children’s Hospital construction site.
The accident occurred after a tower crane terminal fitting failed, causing a two-tonne crane block to fall 50 metres, narrowly missing workers.
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) stated that after initially agreeing to provide an independent engineer’s report regarding the accident, the company later refused, which incited the rallying action. In a statement from the union, it outlaid this reasoning for industrial action.
“John Holland reneged, saying no information would be given to the union safety officer Steve McCann representing the workers,” the CFMEU says.
CFMEU WA state secretary Mick Buchan added that “the workers have had enough.”
Workers on the site downed tools to protest to the breakdown of the verbal agreement in which John Holland promised the independent report. Fair Work Australia has since ordered an end to the industrial action while ordering its own independent engineer’s report regarding the incident.
“If they had stuck to their verbal agreement, none of this (action) would need to have happened,” the CFMEU says. “Instead, they knowingly had information in relation to safety tests on the crane and withheld it.”
In response to the ongoing issues John Holland group managing director Glenn Palin has said the correct protocols have been followed and that any ‘unlawful industrial action’ will not be taken lightly.
“The incident which caused the dispute was immediately reported to the relevant workplace safety authorities and we continue to fully co-operate with authorities in their ongoing investigations,” says Palin. “The site has been cleared as safe for work to continue. We will continue to take the necessary action to prevent unlawful industrial action.”
While the worksite has been confirmed to be clear and safe, the issues between the unions and the John Holland, are still fresh, with the former losing faith in the contracting company.