Win For Workers At Queensland's Children Hospital

After a long struggle, 650 workers at the $1.5 billion Queensland Children's Hospital are back at work after winning a major battle with Abigroup over wage equity.

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Abigroup, part of the giant Lend Lease empire, had been giving work to subcontractors on terms that force them either to slash the wages of their workforces by up to $10 an hour or face going bust.

In July, one such subcontractor went bankrupt, leaving dozens of workers with unpaid entitlements. 

The MUA expressed its solidarity with the CFMEU and their members in support of the principle that all subcontractors be required to pay the site rate, thereby preventing undercutting of wages. 

Construction workers at the site went on strike for nine weeks, but were supported by not only unions including our own through regular visits, but the broader community, MUA members and officials were there with support, and rank & file construction workers from the line attended our State committee meeting and were warmly received

MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said: “Sham contracting is a major issue in all industries, including the maritime industry, where it is a substitute for a commitment to genuine employment and maintenance of agreed standards of pay and conditions.

“Sham contracting is an issue for all trade unions and working men and women if the short-cutters and rorters are allowed to get their way.”

MUA Queensland Branch Secretary Mick Carr said: "This is a great win for the trade union movement and sends a message that employers can't divide and rule working men and women in this and other industries by the use of sham contracting arrangements."  

"These types of arrangements have become the weapon of choice by employers by which to divide and ultimately break down conditions of employment and weaken the effectiveness of unions across a range of industries, this break through is a significant step in ensuring workers are treated equally and remain united in their conviction to oppose these types divisive tactics."