Construction workers campaign for work agreement

The CFMEU picket line on Honeysuckle Drive. Photo: Niko Leka

A Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union-organised formwork carpenter picket outside the Huntingdon Apartments construction site on Honeysuckle Drive is demanding a 15% pay rise over three years.

The workers have taken protected industrial action. The picket began on October 6 after IC Formwork refuse to sign a new enterprise agreement. The old agreement expired in 2018.

When I visited the picket on October 8, many passing motorists tooted their horns in support as workers waved union flags and exchanged greetings.

Some of the 95 apartments, under construction by the ACT-based Doma Group, sell for $1.5 million. Doma has ridden the crest of the boom in the construction of high rise apartments and built many similar complexes in this city.

The billboard in front of the picketers promises buyers “Absolute waterfront exclusive apartments and penthouses in the heart of Newcastle”. As one picketer quipped: “Absolutely and exclusively unfair and no heart”.

[Steve O’Brien is running for in Newcastle City Council in Ward 1.]