Rio Tinto and Bechtel slammed for Cyclone prep failure on Amrun project

24 March 2018

Union slams multi-nationals over cyclone failures on Amrun project

Bechtel and Rio Tinto underfire for appalling response to Cyclone risks, they will have blood on their hands  

The Electrical Trades Union says Bechtel and Rio Tinto have failed its members on the Amrun Project near Weipa where up to 800 workers nervously await the onset of Severe Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Nora.

ETU State organiser Robert Hill says Bechtel and Rio Tinto have failed members in the lead up by flying workers in as late as Thursday when they knew Nora was brewing and now to add insult to injury they are proposing to stand workers down with no pay.

“This is disgraceful behavior on behalf of these companies and it shows their absolute lack of respect for these workers and their families, they will be held accountable for this appalling display,” he said.

State Secretary Peter Ong pointed to the case of two deaths that occurred 11 years ago in similar circumstances.

“The failure to evacuate and other camp issues on the Railway Construction Project run by Fortescue Metals FMG in the lead up to category 4 TC George in March 2007 is a clear indication of what not to do, yet here we have Bechtel and Rio Tinto doing similar things”

“Our members are rightly concerned they are being told by Bechtel IR Manager Andrew Marsden to ride out the storm in Donga’s he says are Cat 4 rated and if need be during the storm workers can be moved to the mess hall, it’s a sick joke.”

“We are angry, they say they have plans in place, we just don’t trust them, they say workers will be protected in donga’s they believe are Cat 4 tested, we don’t agree, they have failed to evacuate the site in time for workers to be safely at home with their families, it is an absolute failure on behalf of these companies and if anything happens they will have blood on their hands.”

Mr Ong said the proposal to stand workers down without pay was a final insult.

“They take them away from their families, fly them into the eye of a storm, fail to keep them safe, and now they want to stand them down without pay, it’s an example of corporate bastardry that needs to be called out and we will continue to call it out. ”