Frustrated Electrical Trades Union members’ march on parliament to vent anger at State Government
Solar jobs to backpackers, labour hire and “asset sales by stealth” high on hit list
Frustrated Electrical Trades Union members will march to State parliament today to protest against the failure of the State Government to protect Queensland jobs and assets against the threats of labour hire and overseas ownership.
High on the agenda will be the incursion of foreign owned Solar companies into the state’s electricity generation sector, a situation State Secretary Peter Ong describes as “asset sales by stealth.”
“Our members fought hard on behalf of their communities to protect the state’s public assets and jobs from private ownership and they are seeing private companies investing in the generation sector with the approval of the State Labor Government elected on a no asset sales agenda. You can image how that goes down with our members,” He said.
“The Government has the ability to regulate the sector via Cleanco a Government Owned Corporation set up for exactly that purpose, yet they are dragging the chain and we are seeing solar farm after solar farm being owned and operated by private companies”
Mr Ong also took aim at the “out of control” use of labour hire on the solar farms, particularly in north and central Queensland accusing the Government of hiding behind Federal code compliance to turn a blind eye to worker exploitation and the use of unlicensed labour.
“To make matters even worse, our members in Townsville, Mackay and many other regional areas where these solar farms are primarily located are seeing what should be; good, well paid, trade qualified jobs, being given to unlicensed, unskilled labour, often foreign backpackers bused in by labour hire companies from hostels. It’s an absolute disgrace and a betrayal of trust particularly for our members facing uncertain futures in the transition from traditional electricity generation to renewables,” Ong said.
The list of grievances is not limited to the Solar sector with the State Government’s procurement policy also coming in for severe criticism particularly around the use of anti-worker, interstate-based contractors on one of the state’s biggest infrastructure projects.
“The Government has dropped the ball at the Townsville Stadium project, where the electrical contract has gone to a South Australian based company KLN with a long history of anti – worker attitudes and a questionable safety record.”
Members will be rallying from 11am at Queens park in the CBD before marching on parliament for 12 midday.
To organise an interview please contact : Peter Ong 0419 721 046 or Andrew Irvine 0448 633 858