» John setka: the day the wall came down

VOLUME 19 NO.2 »
The day the
wall came down
John Setka:
Why the Liberals hate us
your rights
Our cover
Sean Leydon and our new V8
Holden Maloo ute that will be taking
CFMEU gear out to sites. More ute
coverage on centrespread, p.28-29.
Journal of the CFMEU
Victorian and
Tasmanian Branch,
Construction & General
this issue
03-07 Executive columns
04 Cbus position
07 Desperate Dan
14 Yallourn dispute
19 Libs building code in tatters
24 Lets’ Spread it Around campaign
25 OHS: Precast checklist
Know your rights: Workers’
comp and portable sick leave
One year on: We were right to
fight Grocon
Beware the Liberals:
Know your enemy
Bangladesh & Cuba
41 The wall came down: The day many
CFMEU employees will never forget
30-31 Workers of the World:
33 10
On site coverage
Social Media pitfalls
Brodie’s parents and their brave
battle against bullying
42-43 CFMEU gear
History Special:
the 1913 Dublin Lockout
CFMEU Victorian and Tasmanian Branch, Construction & General Division
Organisers and
Field Officers
Specialist Staff
John Setka
Gerry Benstead
Danny Berardi
Jason Bell
John Duggan
Paul Edwards
Colin Flanagan
Robert Graauwmans
Steve Long
Ian Markham
Brendan Murphy
John Parker
Malcolm Smith
Billy Beattie
Gareth Stephenson
Paul Sullivan
Mark Tait (Fozzie)
Theo Theodorou
Mark Travers
John Ayers
Mick Powell
Drew McDonald
Adam Hall
Toby Thornton
Mark McMillan (EBAs)
Joe Myles
John Perkovic
Peter Booth
Richie Hassett
Publicity Officer
Dan Murphy
Assistant Secretaries
Shaun Reardon
Elias Spernovasilis
Ralph Edwards
Senior Vice President
Noel Washington
Vice President
Derek Christopher
Wage Claims Officer
Mark Papan
Training Unit
Anne Duggan
Teachers and Trainers
Karen Odermatt
Mark Devereaux
Jackie Gamble
Barry Kearney
Jennifer Pignataro
Rose Nechwatel
Connie Hall
Paul Allwood
Chris Rees
Sue Bull
Lorella DiPietro
Kimberley Stewart
Tony Minchin
Andy Duff
Dan Phelan
Liberals’ hatred
of unions is an
attack on you
Branch Secretary
John Setka
We would gain nothing from
the election of a Coalition
Tony Abbott is well known for attacking
workers, unions, women and terminally ill
people, and rubbishing the unemployed.
On top of that, he and other notable Liberal
politicians are out to get us.
Napthine, Abetz, Reith: one eye, many lies
If there’s any doubt about this, let’s look at
their words and actions over the last few
Victoria’s Premier Napthine accused us of
being ‘beneath contempt’ when, as part
of our safety rally on 30 April, we had a
minute’s silence at Grocon’s old CUB site
on Swanston Street and its Myer Emporium
site for the four people who died there in
the space of two months. How anyone can
label the paying of respect for the loss of life
as ‘beneath contempt’ is beyond me. In the
aftermath of that tragic wall collapse, not
one word of criticism of Grocon was heard
from any Liberal politician.
Then Napthine and Federal Shadow
Minister for Workplace Relations, Eric Abetz
started a smear campaign against us,
claiming that there were alliances between
the CFMEU and outlaw bikie gangs.
None of their claims, plastered across the
tabloid press, were substantiated with any
Abbott’s hatred for the
CFMEU is because we
are a strong Union
Which side is your bread buttered on?
Tony Abbott has vowed ‘with every breath
of his political body’ to restore the ABCC
‘with vigour’.
He hates the CFMEU because we are a
strong Union that delivers superior pay and
conditions for our members. He doesn’t like
us because this means less power for his
rich mates in the big end of town – mates
like Gina Rinehart, who earns $1million
every 30 minutes but likes the fact that
Africans work for $2 a day.
Rinehart knows which side her bread is
buttered on.
We do too. And it’s not the Liberals.
Former Howard Government Minister, Peter
Reith has also had his say. He wants a
royal commission into the CFMEU. Pretty
rich, coming from the mastermind of the
1998 waterfront dispute and the ‘children
overboard’ lies in the 2001 election, who
also gave a government phone to his son to
run up a $50,000 bill.
Don’t be fooled by the sweet-talking, bornagain nice guy image that Tony Abbott is
trying to portray. He will never back you
or me.
Environmental and
Occupational Health &
Safety Unit Manager
Gerry Ayers
Safety Officers
Alex Tadic
Christine Thomas
Peter Clark
Steve Roach
WorkCover Legal Officer
Neil Browne
Industrial/Legal Officers
Raoul Wainwright
Amanda Swayn
Kate Marshall
Liaison Officer
Liam O’Hearn
500 Swanston St
Carlton South 3053
T: (03) 9341 3444
F: (03) 9341 3427
Wing 5, Lignite Court
Morwell 3840
T: (03) 5134 3311
F: (03) 5133 7058
78 Fyans St
Geelong Sth 3220
T: (03) 5229 8921
F: (03) 5223 1845
Bendigo TLC
40 View St
Bendigo 3550
T: (03) 5443 5173
F: (03) 5442 5961
Shop 3-4, 22 Stanley St
Wodonga 3690
T: (02) 6024 1099
F: (02) 6056 5565
South West TLC
31 Percy St
Portland 3305
T: (03) 5523 4272
F: (03) 5523 3358
33A New Town Rd
New Town 7008
T: (03) 6228 9595
F: (03) 6228 9594
Super up
to 9.25%
from July
CFMEU & Cbus now look
to the future together
Under most standard CFMEU EBAs, the
weekly Cbus contribution rose to $165
dollars from 1 July 2013 or 9.25% of
ordinary time weekly earnings
(previously 9%).
CFMEU Secretary John Setka and Assistant Secretary Elias Spernovasilis with
Cbus Property Senior Liaison Officer Danny Gardiner, Cbus Senior Adviser
(Member Relationships) Lisa Zanatta and Cbus CEO David Atkin.
Now available from CFMEU offices and
All close relationships
have a rocky period, but
the partners can come out of
a tiff stronger for it.
‘We needed to reinvigorate the relationship,’
he says. ‘They have got the message that
we won’t be taken for granted – and I look
forward to our members’ wishes being
given more consideration.’
The CFMEU is confident this is the case
following our recent review of the service
provided by Cbus.
To improve relations between Cbus and its
union partners, a Building Industry Group
Consultative Forum has been set up. This
will address issues that are important to us,
Unions founded it
When Cbus was formed in 1984, it stood
for Construction and Building Unions
Superannuation. It was the first industry
fund, and paved the way for super to
become a right of every Australian worker.
As the fund has grown – it now manages
$23 billion for over 700,000 members – it
has of course had to expand its staff
and bring in lots of people with financial
If they expended half the time and energy
that they did in trying to stop us from doing
our job, they might have got some major
projects off the ground and created jobs for
Victorian workers.
Everyone in the industry
knows that things are quieter
than they have been in a
long time. The situation is
made worse by the lazy
government in power in
Spring Street.
In all the years that I have been an official
of this union, I have never seen such a lazy,
disinterested government in terms of getting
major projects off the ground, prioritising
infrastructure and getting the economy
But their laziness seems to stop when it
comes to attacking the union. They have
spent an enormous amount of time and
Three years into their
term, their record on
job creation is woeful
money setting up the Victorian Building
Code and the Compliance Unit in order to
make it harder for us to go on sites and
harder for companies with EBAs to tender
for government jobs.
The Federal Court ruled the government’s
code unlawful. The government was actually
breaking the law and was found guilty of
‘coercion’ and ‘adverse action’. Despite
these findings, Napthine and his crew
But they are doing this for a reason. In
order to disguise their shortcomings and
their laziness they are attacking the union
because at least then, they can say that
they are doing something. By making us the
bogeyman, they hope to divert everyone’s
attention away from themselves to us.
Unfortunately for them, the community isn’t
easily fooled. They can see that this is a
government that has cut services, attacked
nurses, teachers, firefighters, ambulance
officers, decimated TAFE, made cuts to
WorkSafe and stood very much on the side
of bosses when it comes to disputes with
building workers.
Three years into their term, their record is
You would think they might want to do
something like strengthen the economy and
create jobs.
But, that is too much like hard work.
• holding of an Annual General Meeting
•encouraging Australian products and
•ensuring that contracts entered into meet
the highest OHS standards
•giving members more investment choices,
including ethical investment options
• reducing admin fees paid by
retired members receiving a
Cbus pension.
But what those running
We won’t be
Cbus have to remember is
taken for granted
that unions are the heart of
Their commitment to these
John Setka
the fund. We sign companies
improvements will be
to EBAs which guarantee
monitored over the next
that Cbus contributions continue to flow.
12 months.
When employers are in arrears, or go broke
Member service
owing money to Cbus, it is unions who
chase it up.
One area in which the review showed Cbus
outperforms other super funds is member
Concerns led to review
service. We never had any problems with
Late last year, Victorian construction unions
the team of Cbus Co-ordinators, which is
became concerned that Cbus had lost
now headed by Lisa Zanatta.
touch with this reality, and investigated
We are also pleased that long-time fund
whether other super funds could offer a
employee Danny Gardiner has been
better service.
appointed by Cbus Property as its Senior
After much consideration, we have decided
Liaison Officer.
to stick with Cbus. CFMEU Secretary John
Setka believes it was necessary to put Cbus
under the microscope.
continue their one-eyed pursuit of the union
and are appealing the decision.
Elias Spernovasilis
Assistant Secretary
See EBA wage rates tables on 52-53
2013 CFMEU
Tax Guide
legacy of
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Just go to facebook.com/cfmeujohnsetka
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or watch youtube.com/user/CFMEUVIC
and join in on the conversation.
Well done
Congratulations to our own Derek
Christopher and Michelle Prevolsek,
who welcomed little baby Jack
into the world on 22 June.
Respect for
the late
Bill Ramsay
The family of Bill Ramsay
accepted CFMEU life
membership on his behalf
at our May shop stewards
Bill died after falling from a tower crane
at Grocon’s Emporium site on
18 February.
Bill was a respected crane operator
who was well-liked around the industry.
He was a staunch CFMEU member
who wasn’t afraid to stand up for what
he believed in.
I was always
told know
your award.
Safety is not
a priority for
Ralph Edwards
Shaun Reardon
Assistant Secretary
Today it’s a case of know
your EBA if you want to
protect your wages and
Sometimes you can bullshit your way
through an argument with a boss, but
they might be a bigger bullshit artist than
you. Besides, not all workers have the
confidence to even start the argument.
Clause 32.3 of the EBA provides for
unused sickies to be added to your Incolink
portable sick leave (PSL) account when you
finish with an employer. Your boss pays
$1.54 per week, so you can draw on the
accumulated entitlement if you become
sick with your next employer and have not
accrued sufficient leave.
This is where knowing a few facts can
change the balance in your favour.
When you finish up your boss has to notify
Two clauses in our EBA are always being
argued over...Accident Pay and Portable
Sick Leave. Neither is well understood and
as a result workers are regularly missing
two problems commonly arise: the boss
Incolink of your unused sick leave but
doesn’t notify or workers don’t check. If an
entitlement isn’t notified to Incolink when
you finish up, it becomes very hard to chase
later on.
Workers Comp
Clause 33 of the EBA provides for 52 weeks
of Accident /Make-up Pay. But what does
that mean?
An employee on WorkCover is entitled to
their ordinary 36 hour week rate of pay for
up to a year. Ordinary pay means what you
receive for each hour worked for up to eight
hours per day, Monday to Friday, excluding
site and travel allowances.
WorkCover only reimburses the employer
95% of your pre-injury average weekly
earnings (PIAWE). The boss has to makeup the difference. It is not enough for your
boss to just give you what he gets from his
insurance company.
CFMEU Secretary John Setka presents Bill
Ramsay’s life membership to his wife Bev,
daughter Jade and brother Rod.
Workers who have allowances or all
purpose payments built into their ordinary
hourly rate, such as contract scaffolders
and leading hands, are entitled to have
these factored into their make-up pay.
Regular rostered overtime is also made up
by WorkCover for the first 26 weeks. This
has been another area of confusion since the
Bracks Labor Government introduced it but
it is an entitlement and must be claimed.
If you are unfortunate enough to end up
on WorkCover you have decent protection
under your EBA and the law, especially for
the first 52 weeks. Know your rights and
get advice from the Union or our solicitors
if needed.
Know your rights and get
advice from the Union or
our solicitors if needed
The process for allocating sick days to your
Portable Sick Leave account also needs to
be understood. Remember, we are dealing
with insurance, so the policy will only be
provided if someone is making a quid.
Democracy is messy –
Napthine wants to make it
expensive, too.
The State Liberal Government’s response
to the Grocon dispute last year – and
everything it has thrown at us since –
makes it very clear whose side it is on. They
claim to have spent $1.8 million in police
resources during the protest, and are now
pursuing the CFMEU through the courts to
get more money out of us.
The Australian Competition and Consumer
Commission (which is supposed to monitor
price-fixing among petrol companies and
supermarkets) is also now chasing the
CFMEU for its cut of Union members’
These moves are intended to punish the
Union for organising a protest, yet the right
to protest is the hallmark of a democratic
society. The Napthine Government
obviously doesn’t see it that way, and
its determination to pursue the Union for
taking action on safety shows everyone
how committed it is to the principles of
Meanwhile, on Grocon sites…
The main point, that seems to be lost on
the government, is that four innocent people
have lost their lives since our protest – which
was over Grocon’s woeful attitude to safety.
We took action because Daniel Grollo
walked away from an agreement that his
company would stop its standover tactics
to intimidate workers on its projects. He
walked away from an agreement to have
experienced and properly trained OHS
representatives on his sites.
I have been in the construction industry all
my working life, and I have worked with
many builders and many different people.
Everyone in the industry knows about the
pressure under which people are being
made to work on Grocon projects. Everyone
knows that safety is not a priority for
Grocon. It is common knowledge.
four innocent people
have lost their lives
since our protest
I’m not a man of faith, but I hope and pray
that workers on Grocon jobs go home safely
every night. If they don’t, the blame lies
squarely with Grocon and Daniel’s backers.
It’s important for everyone to know that this
is the reason we protested, and this is the
reason we are being sued.
Monday 2 December 2013
Caulfield Racecourse
Car Park entry Via
Kambrook Rd
Plus regional picnics in:
• Ballarat
• Bendigo
• Geelong
• La Trobe Valley
• Mildura
• Portland
• Shepparton
• Wodonga
Another Unionwon benefit
When a boss notifies that you left X sick
days behind, he also notifies the actual
period of employment and the number of
sickies taken. Then your entitlement is recalculated as if you were in your first year of
employment (i.e. no ten days added on your
anniversary, just one day for the first ten
months of each year of employment minus
any sickies taken).
So, we are getting something we didn’t
have, but it is not full portable sick leave.
Again, what you think you know may not
be correct and by asking questions, even if
you think you might sound dumb, you are
empowering yourself.
he CFMEU supported the Benefit
for Bangladesh at the Celtic Club
on 27 June. Organised by the
Textile Clothing and Footwear
Union, the event raised $30,000.
Bangladesh Benefit
concert raises $30K
Most of the money raised will be given to
victims of April’s tragic factory collapse,
which killed more than 1,000 garment
workers, and their families. The money
will also be used to support union safety
campaigns in Bangladesh.
not lovin’ it
Looking to
buy a home?
Get on
The CFMEU is keeping a close
eye on proceedings at Tecoma.
Always up for a good cause
Performers who gave their time included
comedians Corinne Grant and Claire
Hooper as well as musos Mick Thomas,
Ash Naylor, The Flybz, and the Painters
and Dockers trio.
Dockers’ front man, Paulie Stewart
showed that he still knows how to get
a crowd going, dedicating ‘Die Yuppie
Die’ to Daniel Grollo, and closing their
set with what he said should be the new
Union theme song: ‘You’re Goin’ Home
in the Back of a Divvy Van.’
Modern slavery: see page 30
Locals are protesting the
building of a McDonald’s
in the quiet Dandenong
Ranges village.
Did yo ?
In early July, with demonstrators
occupying the site and lying across
gates, CFMEU Organiser Paul Edwards
stepped in to advise members they did
not have to work while their health and
safety was at risk. It was also wrong to
put building workers into the middle of a
heated dispute.
eward a
shop stary Martin
former am once players
t for Pa
trumpe Dockers?
John Cummins Memorial Fund
John Cummins was an inspirational union leader and political
and community activist. He was President of the Victorian
Branch of the CFMEU from 1996 to 2006, and prior to that, a
senior official of the Builders Labourers Federation.
Dare to Dream. Supporting
Promising Students
JCMF scholarships are awarded to
secondary students who show promise
and determination and whose families are
experiencing financial hardship.
Julie Pasin of Thornbury HS is one of 32
students receiving support this year. Her
grant from the fund covers the cost of her
cookery course and she says, ‘This has lifted
a huge financial weight off my family.’
Seven years’ stats
The JCMF has raised and
distributed almost $400,000 since
it was established following John’s
death in 2006.
$ 117,000 128 student scholarships
$ 2,000
Student support, Northland
Secondary College
$ 7,000
Junior sports: North
Heidelberg Football Club
$ 2,000
$ 2,000
Fred Hollows Foundation
$ 175,000 Brain Tumour Support
Service, Austin Hospital
$ 68,000 Education and support for
young people with a brain
JCMF scholarship recipients Julie Pasin,
Danielle Forward and Hayley Maguire in the
kitchen at Thornbury High School.
$ 23,000 Palliative care equipment
$ 396,000 Total
WORKER www.cummo.com.au
2013 Seventh Annual
John Cummins
Memorial Dinner
Friday 30 August, 7pm The CFMEU’s July branch meeting
passed a motion supporting the right
of residents to protest the store and
suggesting McDonald’s reconsider
forcing a fast-food outlet on the
Last year Yarra Shire Council voted
against the store after receiving 1,100
objections to it but Maccas took the
matter to VCAT which overruled the
locals’ wishes.
Despite widespread opposition
McDonald’s is pushing ahead and in
early August 50 police were needed to
escort a grubby, small-time demolition
company on to the site.
With local sentiment running high this is
unlikely to be the end of the matter. The
CFMEU will be keeping a close eye on
things to make sure members are not put
at risk.
The CFMEU has partnered
with Dreamstreet Home
Loans to provide members
with low interest rates and lots
of extra benefits. See pages
54-55 for full details.
the state
ETU demolition
•Celebrity Room
Moonee Valley Racecourse
•Last Table Standing – $10,000
to be won!
•Silent Auction – Sports
memorabilia and more great
•MC Melbourne comedian Danny
• Entertainment – Diesel & band
•Great raffle prizes – $3,000 travel
voucher, Grand Final tickets
Tickets still available, call:
Di Cummins 0411 614 519
Brett and Brendan from BCW
Demolition with Rob Taylor
More Onsite star
from page 28.
The day
the wall
came down
Thursday 28
March 2013
All of Melbourne was shaken by the deaths of three young people when the brick wall of
Grocon’s old CUB brewery site on Swanston Street, Carlton collapsed.
Tha collapse occured directly opposite the CFMEU office, and our staff were some of
the first people on the scene to help. Here they recall the horror of that day.
Mark McMillan
was sitting at my desk when Raoul
Wainwright (Industrial Officer) came
running telling me to get my first aid
gear. I met Karen on the stairs. She
handed me the defibrillator and we agreed
straight away that she would take the lead
as she’s the senior first aider in our office.
I was trained in first aid while serving
in the Australian Army. They are very
thorough, and you were assessed in real-life
scenarios. I was taught triage, which
is where they give you multiple
casualties and you have to make
a call about who to save first.
Since 1998, I have maintained
my CFMEU Level 3 First Aid
Certificate, which I regard just
as highly.
We got outside and there was dust
everywhere, strong winds, and people
running amok. Karen went straight to the
aid of Bridget Jones and noticed there was
another person (her brother, Alexander)
trapped further under. The rest of us raised
the hoarding enough for Karen to slide in
and tend to him.
Someone then called out that there was
another person further up (Marie-Faith
Fiawoo), but she was still buried. Everyone
was working frantically, throwing bricks
and debris, trying to free the people, as
we didn’t know how many were
trapped at this stage.
Karen and I worked
alongside fire
brigade and
officers. They accepted us straight away
because they could see that we knew what
we were doing. We helped get Bridget onto
the stretcher and then into the ambulance.
The whole thing was very traumatic, not
least because we did all we could to save
the lives of these three young people.
I am so sorry that none of them survived,
but I’m proud to be one of the many people
from the Union that went to help. It is also
an honour to have worked alongside Karen
Odermatt, one of our top first aid trainers.
rmatt and EB
ner Karen Ode the memorial
ark McMillan
Organiser M
on Swan
Karen Odermatt
t first I thought the loud crash
was thunder, but then looked
out of our 2nd floor window and
could see that something very
bad had happened.
The Union’s Training Unit sprang to life,
alerting people to what had happened, and
we all headed down.
At the scene, Bridget Jones was partially
covered. She was alive, but her breathing
was compromised.
I looked under the hoarding – and
that’s when I saw her brother,
Alexander. I immediately called out
that there was a second person
there – and at that point, someone up
the other end called out that there was a
third person (Marie) trapped underneath.
I got a defibrillator onto Alexander but
unfortunately we couldn’t do anything.
The ambulance had arrived by then, and
Bridget Jones
Alexander Jones
the head officer said that we had to focus
on Bridget, so I assisted them while a
paramedic attended to Marie.
I know without a shadow of a doubt that we
did everything we could possibly do, and I
am glad that we were there with Bridget.
At least she was not alone.
Marie-Faith Fiawoo
The hard thing for First Aiders is that you
have to swing into action and put yourself
into a difficult situation. On the day, having
Mark McMillan alongside me gave me
confidence. He’d been to a lot of my classes
and being with someone who you are sure
knows their stuff makes it easier.
The efforts of our staff and the other people
involved were incredible. Everyone took on
a job and worked together
furiously to try to save lives.
In the aftermath, we organised
for Incolink to attend to
CFMEU staff who had
witnessed or helped on the
scene and who were in shock.
Because of my training role in
First Aid, I tend to stay focused
and in control – otherwise you
can’t do the job, and you’re no
help to anyone. But on Easter
Sunday night three days later,
when I heard that Bridget had
died, I was very upset.
Right: a letter of thanks from
Ambulance Victoria to the CFMEU.
The CFMEU extends its
condolences to the family
and friends of Aram
Saunders, who died in a
traffic accident on the way
to work on 22 May at
the age of 27.
Taking it
to the
Shop steward at Baulderstone’s
Swinburne University site Phil Filardo
describes Aram as an honest,
hardworking young man who was well
liked by his workmates.
Aram had a positive approach to life,
enjoyed working in the building game
and in his spare time was a budding
Union members at Baulderstone and
the company are helping support Aram’s
wife and lifelong sweetheart, Anna, at this
difficult time.
Workmates of Aram Saunders at Baulderstone’s
Swinburne University site raised over $8,000
following his sudden death. (l-r) Jeff, Keith, Phil,
Mal, Damo and James.
Now downloadable from
The CFMEU is the toast of a Brunswick
public housing estate after raising
$14,000 for the residents’ food bank.
he money, donated by building
sites in the area, will buy groceries
to be distributed to residents of
the Barkly St flats every Friday,
for a tiny fee. The food bank is staffed by
volunteers from the flats and overseen by
Merri Outreach Support Services.
Operations Manager Katrina McAuley was
full of praise for the workers ‘amazing’
‘We don’t get many large donations so
receiving this money means so much,’
she said.
‘Apart from supplying the residents, many
of whom are elderly and frail, the food bank
brings people together. It is a vital part
of the community and this generosity will
make sure it remains so,’ added Katrina.
This worthy cause was suggested by
local Labor MP Jane Garrett. When area
organiser Gerard Benstead told her CFMEU
members working in Brunswick would like
to put something back into the area, Jane
suggested the food bank.
It is looking like a great match-up and is set
to continue throughout 2013.
The money was raised through
collections run by shop stewards and
donations from builders Hamilton Marino
and Icon, and property developers Little
and Blue Earth.
Barkly St resident Lei Wang gets help from food
bank volunteer Graham Brown
Pocket and fridge versions
will be sent out with the
final 2013 edition of CFMEU
Worker before Christmas.
Coburg going back to its roots,
with union support
The CFMEU has become an official sponsor
of VFL team, Coburg. The Union decided to
throw it’s support behind the communitybased club as it moves to become a
stand-alone entity in 2014.
‘We are going back to basics as the Coburg
Lions and we want the local community to
embrace the club.’
CFMEU shop stewards Ian Robertson (left) and Les Wilkins
(right) with organiser Gerard Benstead, Barkly St food bank
volunteer Lyn Darmanin and Merri Outreach Operations
Manager Katrina McAuley.
Club president Bill Bilakas said the
sponsorship was fantastic.
‘It’s much appreciated and it’s a huge
boost for us.
‘The club wants to concentrate its efforts
to recruit good young kids who aspire to a
career in the AFL and the sponsorship of
the CFMEU and the ETU is aligned with the
club’s return to its roots.’
Coburg’s Matt Dea, (photos by Dave Savell)
Yallourn power
workers hit with
arson smear
‘POWER GRAB – Union probed over
Yallourn Blaze’ screamed the front page
of the Herald-Sun on Saturday 22 June.
hey were at it again. Bagging
unionised workers involved in a
At lunchtime the previous day, the owners
of Yallourn Power Station, China Light and
Power, locked out 75 operators, members
of the CFMEU Mining and Energy Division.
Sometime later, a 6,600-volt circuit breaker
went up in flames, causing a shutdown.
Never let truth get in the way of a
Herald-Sun story
CFA crews attended the fire, and Morwell
CFA officer-in-charge Shane Mynard
declared that the small fire was not
We were
Most likely, the fire was caused by poor
maintenance – but don’t expect to read
that in the Herald-Sun. It has never set
the record straight or apologised for this
disgraceful smear.
month,’ Mining and Energy Secretary Luke
van der Meulen told us. ‘As it is, they can
be called in for four hours or have the boss
swap their shifts with no notice. Basically
there are no rules.’
Company playing hardball
The company has refused to negotiate
and used every lawyer’s trick to try to stop
industrial action, failing each time. They
have now reduced their pay offer and
locked the operators out indefinitely.
The blue at Yallourn is over a new EBA. The
CFMEU wants fairer shift rostering, dispute
resolution rights and limits on the use of
contractors. These were lost during the
John Howard era but are in place at other
Latrobe Valley power stations.
‘As 24/7 shift workers, our members want
to know what their life is going to be like
next week and next
right to fight
Management are attempting to run the
plant themselves, raising serious health and
safety concerns.
‘We believe it was an electrical fault,’ he told
The Age. ‘If it was suspicious, we would
have been calling in the police.’
Days later, the Herald-Sun was still trying
to link the fire to the locked-out CFMEU
members, ‘reporting‘ that police were
investigating and Energy Australia (the frontname used by China Light and Power) was
threatening action against anyone found
The fire that engulfed this
circuit breaker on 21 June was
most likely caused by poor
Toby Thor nton (left)
CFMEU Construction Organiser,
sion Secretary, Luke
Yallourn operators.
van der Meu
Last August’s protest outside
Grocon’s Emporium site in
Lonsdale St put the Union
in the national spotlight.
one yearhto
to fight
We were rig
For 15 days, construction
workers withstood the
police, political attacks and
media lies to demand that
workers on Grocon sites
have the same rights as the
rest of the industry.
In the 12 months since, almost every action
taken by the company has proved us right.
There have been four deaths on Grocon
sites and dozens of serious safety incidents.
Intimidation is rife, rip-offs are continuing,
and their workers are driven to work crazy
These problems can all be traced back to
the issues at the heart of last year’s blue:
Grocon’s total lack of respect for workers
and refusal to accept elected OHS and
Union reps.
Crane Operator, Bill Ramsay, 59, fell to his
death on the Emporium site on 18 February.
Barely five weeks later followed the
28 March wall collapse at Grocon’s old
CUB brewery development on
Swanston St. It killed three
Alexander Jones, 19,
his sister Bridget, 18,
and French engineer
Marie Faith-Fiawoo, 33.
Investigations into
these deaths are
continuing. The
coronial inquest into the Swanston St
collapse will consider the role played by
the unauthorised advertising hoarding that
Grocon had attached to the wall.
Site allowance rip-offs
Without Union shop stewards on site,
Grocon thinks it can rip workers off. A
favourite scam is undervaluing its projects
to pay lower site allowances.
The handpicked safety ‘reps’ on its sites
are the construction manager’s son Daniel
Van Camp and former heavyweight boxing
champ and waterfront scab, Peter Hewitt.
They are not there to look after safety but to
enforce the company’s way.
On 6 May, The Age reported on leaked
emails between Mirvac and Grocon during
construction of Tower 8 in Docklands.
Mirvac’s project manager accused Grocon
site personnel of having ‘little regard for
safety’ and being ‘too intimidated’ by senior
Grocon management to implement safe
A culture of intimidation runs right through
When Daniel Grollo failed in his attempt to
get a non-union EBA in 2002, ripping up
the industry RDO calendar was one of his
main aims. If allowed, he will drive people
to work all hours with no regard for family
time or safety.
Financial woes
Media reports over the past year suggest
that Grocon has serious money problems.
Last October the CFMEU forced Grocon
to lift the site allowance at McNab Avenue
Footscray to $4.10 with full back pay. They
had been paying $3.70. They also had to
back pay site allowance at Mirvac’s Yarra
Point site.
This year there have been concerns that
all subcontractors were not paying the
correct $4.80 allowance on the Parkville
cancer centre site. As CFMEU Worker went
to press, the correct rate for the Emporium
was the subject of a hearing at the Building
Industry Disputes Panel.
Grocon sites are also
notorious for working
on almost every RDO
listed on the CFMEU
There has been a string of losses and
contractual disputes.
Daniel Grollo has been hurriedly selling off
property, including the Swanston St CUB
development site and the nearby Pixel
green-energy building, which was once
Grocon’s pride and joy.
Whatever it takes
The conditions and rights we have today
are a result of the hard yards done by
unionists who went before us. These often
involved blues with Daniel Grollo’s father
and grandfather.
Members can rest assured that the
CFMEU is committed to seeing this
dispute through.
After more than 1,000 police were used
against the peaceful protest outside the
Emporium last August, it has been one
shocker after another on Grocon sites.
•6 September 2012: WorkSafe slaps two
prohibition notices on unsafe work at
•26 September: Carpenter severs finger after
being required to dog tower crane illegally at
•28 September: Dogman’s load struck by
lightning after crane works through electrical
storm, Myer Emporium
•October–December: Excavation at Cancer
Centre site undermines and cracks Royal
Parade, closing it to trams and cars
Mirvac also had to direct Grocon
management to ‘Refrain from behaving…in
a threatening or abusive manner and not to
intimidate, harass or verbally abuse any site
Slave drivers
On the morning of Saturday 6 July,
Daniel Grollo told workers on the Myer
Emporium site that he needed 16 big
concrete pours over the next month,
and that those who pushed themselves
the hardest might get an extended run
of work with his company. Grocon’s
site managers then kicked off a
concrete pour that ran until 3 am
on Sunday!
•December: Formwork collapse during
concrete pour on Emporium site
•18 February 2013: Crane operator Bill
Ramsay falls to his death at Emporium site
•13 March: Blowout occurs while tensioning
slab at Emporium site
•21 March: Grocon crane crews forced to
work in 96km/h winds. Load dropped at
Cancer Centre site, putting crane out of
•28 March: Wall collapses at old CUB site on
Swanston St – 3 dead
•June: Cranes collide on Cancer Centre site.
Grocon tell WorkSafe investigator:
‘No big deal, they just touched’
•June: Lifting device on Grocon’s precast
concrete panels found to be in breach of
Code of Practice.
For more details of the company’s shocking
safety record – including WorkSafe reports
released through freedom of information –
visit www.cfmeuvic.com.au
View the short film ‘A
Dispute About Safety’
YouTube Channel
This page
and previous:
Members of construction unions hit the streets
in huge numbers on 30 April to demand safety on Grocon sites