Unions picket City Hall

Brisbane City Hall.

"The main issues here at the City Hall site are wages and conditions, and safety," Peter Ong, Electrical Trades Union organiser, told Green Left Weekly on November 17.

He spoke at a picket of 500 construction workers outside City Hall, which is undergoing a $215 million renovation.

"The main contractors, Abigroup, are using a labour hire workforce, at pay rates at least $6 per hour less than other city sites. Last week, the workers attended a meeting out the front, and were arbitrarily sacked by the company.”

Ong told the November 18 Courier-Mail that workers had concerns about asbestos. “In the safety audit we did a couple of days ago we've identified pieces of asbestos lying around on the floor, asbestos tiles, asbestos dust lying around."

Geoff Lovett, a Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union member at the picket, told GLW: "This is a question of solidarity. This company is ignoring safety rules, and paying the guys at a much lower rate than other jobs, and rolling all other benefits in, meaning no sick pay, no holiday pay and so on.”