Construction giant sacks hundreds of workers

February 16, 2005

Selena Black, Sydney

On February 11, hundreds of building workers were sacked in Sydney and Queensland by the collapsed company Walter Construction Group.

Walter went into receivership on February 1 and many more of its 1000 employees are likely to be sacked without gaining their full entitlements. According to the February 12 Daily Telegraph, the workers are owed an estimated $16 million by the multinational corporation.

On February 8, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union called on the Liberal Party and the ALP to return all donations received from Walter prior to its collapse to enable administrators KordaMentha to pay the workers' entitlements and money owed to small businesses.

Over the last four years, Walter Construction Group contributed $143,333 to the Liberal Party and $2200 to the ALP.

The union's NSW secretary, Andrew Ferguson, said the money "would be far more valuable in the hands of unemployed workers and family-owned subcontractors than being used in electioneering".

On February 11, Walter employees picketed sites across NSW, including three Sydney Water sites in Sydney and Wollongong, in a bid for clients to come up with their entitlements. CFMEU members picketed a Villawood machinery yard that houses assets of the company, after it was revealed that the German parent company will benefit from any sales proceeds.

From Green Left Weekly, February 16, 2005.
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