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Brutal - 230 workers sacked by text message on Queensland solar farm!!!

ETU says casual workers used as pawns in business power play.

The Electrical Trades Union has seized on the circumstances surrounding the brutal sacking of 230 workers on a Queensland solar farm by text message at 6am Monday morning, as laying bare the ugly and brutal side of the Coalition’s industrial relations agenda.

The 230 full time casual workers, many of whom were working 60+ hours a week on the Gangarri project near Wandoan, were given no notice according to the ETU.

“We have an appalling situation where hard-working Queenslanders, electricians and mechanical fitters have been sacked due to a “contractual disagreement” between two companies Davis Contracting and Sterling & Wilson, the workers were given no notice other than a text message at 6am and they and their families face an uncertain future. It’s brutal and it’s disgusting.” ETU State Secretary Peter Ong said today.

Mr Ong said the example was the latest in a long line of mistreatment of casual and labor hire workers and says it shows how broken the industrial relations system has become under the LNP Coalition Government and why the ETU will be campaigning for more rights for casual workers not less, as proposed by the LNP’s so-called Omnibus Bill.

“Big businesses like Sterling & Wilson have exploited the loopholes in the Fair Work legislation, where they can let workers go at a whim, they don’t care how the workers are treated, it’s all about getting the biggest bang for their buck.  And that is exactly what the LNP wanted, they designed the legislation to ensure maximum flexibility at the expense of job security and this has resulted in these kinds of business models of exploitation.” Mr Ong said.

Mr Ong praised the IR blueprint presented by ALP Leader Anthony Albanese last night which would see protections and rights for casual employees enshrined in legislation.

 Mr Ong used the Solar Industry as a clear example of how the LNP’s abject policy failures were hurting Queensland workers.

“The Solar Industry is a bit of a cowboy industry at the moment where due to the LNP’s inept energy policies and its failure to address protections for casual workers there is a lot of uncertainty in the industry. These failures in policy are leading to an influx of overseas owned speculators who are failing to do the right thing by the owners of the solar farms and their workers.” Mr Ong said “The renewables industry should be providing secure jobs to Australian workers employed by local contractors who pay their bills, we will continue to fight for better protections for casual workers and labour hire as well as certainty and accountability in this important sector.”

 For more information please call, Peter Ong 0419 721 046 or Andrew Irvine 0448 633 858