Sep 2018 | Striking plasterers win back pay and higher wages

Date: 25 Sep 2018

Source: Red Flag

More than 100 striking plasterers on the Royal Hobart Hospital construction project have won back-payment of their wages and coverage by a union-struck enterprise agreement. 

In yet another chapter exposing the hyper-exploitation of migrant workers that is endemic to key parts of the Australian economy, Chinese plasterers working on the $689 million hospital redevelopment walked off the job on 6 September. They stopped work in protest over sham contracting arrangements and the non-payment of wages. Many workers had gone eight weeks without pay. They were followed a week later by around 30 local workers who hadn’t been paid for a week. 

While their action was initially wildcat, most of the Chinese workers have since joined the CFMMEU. The plasterers were hired through Melbourne-based subcontractor Accuracy Interiors on a range of temporary visas. The union said that the managing contractor, a joint venture between John Holland and Fairbrother, had known about the situation for weeks before the workers forced the issue to a head.