Disrupted work on the Curtis Island gas projects has led to attempts by Bechtel to stop strike action through Fair Work Australia.
However, strike action by members of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union is ongoing, with estimates by the CFMEU this morning of 500 workers striking at the Port Central ferry terminal, and 150 workers at the Fisherman’s Wharf ferry terminal.
An interim order has been issued by Fair Work Australia on Sunday to all workers who were not covered by the approval for protected action, that industrial action “must stop, not occur and not be organised”.
The order states that Industrial Action does not include protected industrial action, or action by employees taken on the basis of a safety risk that might occur as a result of crossing a picket line.
The CFMEU have said that the approval for protected action has no time limit.
Workers on Curtis Island reported a two hour work stoppage on Friday, and no work performed on Saturday and Sunday.
Workers from other unions on the island were also known to have refused to go to work in support of the strike action.
Bechtel have reissued their intention to lock-out employees who participated in the strike action, however it is not known how Bechtel will ensure that it does not wrongfully lockout employees who chose not to cross picket lines for safety reasons, a legal right outlined by Fair Work Australia.
CFMEU spokesman Jade Ingham told Australian Mining that at times there were 400 to 500 people on picket lines at the Port Central and Fisherman’s Wharf ferry terminals, where workers are transported to and from Curtis Island.
Ingham said workers were unwilling to back down in the face of Bechtel’s notices of intent to lockout workers involved in the strike.
“The blokes are up to the challenge, they’re sick of being bullied and intimidated, and they saw that as just the latest example of Bechtel’s thuggery,” Ingham said.
“For exercising a fundamental right and a legal right to withdraw their labour, they shouldn’t have to put up with bullying and thuggery for exercising a fundamental right in any modern democracy.”
Ingham denied claims published in the Gladstone Observer that workers were abusive, spitting, or breaking car windows.
“That’s absolute rubbish. I was present at both picket lines and I never saw any of that,” he said.
“That’s just an example of Bechtel’s mudslinging and obfuscation to try and distract from the real issue at hand which is that they are absolutely pigheaded about awarding these workers a decent roster and a decent agreement.
“These lies and falsities that they are putting out to the public are nothing short of insulting to the guys that have been disciplined, respective, peaceful and simply exercising a democratic right.
“We’re not talking about a major financial imposts on the company, we’re talking about a shorter roster.”