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Worker Freed after Collapsing in Perth Airport Tunnel Construction Site

A construction worker has been freed by emergency crews after an incident inside Perth’s Forrestfield Airport rail link tunnel.

The man was severely injured when a high pressure air pipe exploded and smashed him in the face.

The 35 year old man suffered serious facial injuries during the incident which happened 50 metres underground.

The incident led to a delicate operation which involved a rescue crew lifting him out of the tunnel by crane with a rescue cage. He was then taken to Royal Perth Hospital for treatment.

Work on the tunnel was shut down as WorkSafe investigate. The Perth Transport Authority are also investigating.

Prior to the incident, the CFMEU says concerns about safety were raised relating to the brackets connected to the high pressure pipes however these concerns fell on deaf ears.

The airport rail link is expected to be completed by 2020.

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National Asbestos Training for Apprentices

The CFMEU has called for mandatory national training on asbestos safety for apprentices and tradies, similarly to the mandatory White Card training that all construction workers must undergo.

A Curtin University study revealed that three out of four tradespeople could not identify asbestos in the workplace, increasing their risk of exposure. Because many Australian buildings still have asbestos and it is also illegally imported into the country, it is crucial that we know how to identify it, and what to do if we come across it.

This prompted the unions call who also urged the State and Federal Governments as well as the sector to tackle the lack of regulation in the building industry which they say is putting lives at risk.

The CFMEU says we need national, mandatory training for all apprentices to make them aware of the dangers and how to safely handle asbestos.

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Construction Workers Take to The Street Against ABCC

Construction workers belonging to the nation’s largest construction union have taken to the streets of Melbourne to protest the federal government’s plan to reintroduce the Australian Building and Construction Commission, changes to the Building code and possible reductions in penalty rates, which the union says will put workers lives at risk.

The CFMEU intends to protest the proposed building laws around the country and disrupt major Victorian government projects.

The union is also protesting over the use of 457 Visa workers on state building projects.

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Major Hospital Action Lands Construction Union $277k fine

The CFMEU and 7 of its officials have been slapped with a $277,000 fine after being found guilty of illegally blockading the work site of a major construction site.

The court handed down the fine after it found the union guilty over conduct involving illegal blockades at the Perth Children’s Hospital Project.

During one protest, 400 people blockaded the site’s main entrance, preventing a large concrete pour to take place as scheduled, involving 45 trucks.

The cause of the action was because the head contractor failed to agree to a demand for a “whole of site” enterprise bargaining agreement.

In another incident, the union organised a blockade, preventing around 200 workers from entering the site.

In a third incident, a CFMEU official attempted to prevent workers from entering the site by using physical restraint. See more at

Union fined $100k after Vic Mill Strikes

A court recently ruled that strikes at the Australian Paper Mill, were illegal, scoring a win for the Australian Building and Construction Commission against the unions.

Fines totaling $101,500 have been handed down by the federal court to the Construction Union CFMEU, Manufacturing Union AMWU, Workers Union AWU and 3 officials for a 3 day strike at the Mill’s de-inking project in March 2014.

The judge found the conduct of the union was not as “grossly lawless” as in previous cases but he stressed the importance that the union understand the importance of the boundaries of lawful conduct in the prosecution of disputes.


Metal Beam Crushed Construction Worker

Another construction worker has lost his life on the job, this time in central Sydney, near Darling Harbour at Barangaroo.

The man, in his thirties, died after being struck by a steel beam which was being lifted.

Police and emergency services were called to the scene around 4:30pm to discover a man had the top half of his torso completely crushed.

According to CFMEU NSW secretary Brian Parker, the man died instantly.

He said this incident was preventable, given that nobody should have been in the vicinity of the area when lifting is being conducted. The incident is under investigation.


Construction Industry Up in Arms

The media has recently been reporting about a wave of walkouts planned by union members over the Turnbull government’s new laws.

Recently the Senate waved through a bill fast tracking the controversial rules limiting union influence on government funded sites such as roads, schools and hospitals.

It is estimated that around 3000 construction companies have a few months to replace their union friendly agreements before they become eligible to attain lucrative federal contracts again.

The CFMEU’s plans were blasted by employment minister Michaelia Cash who said they prove why tougher laws are necessary.

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Construction Workers Take a Stand for Safety

The alleged lack of action following the death of construction veteran Jorge Catillo-Riffo, prompted CFMEU members to gather at parliament house in Adelaide on February 15.

Around 200 of the union’s members congregated outside following the dropping of charges against the company contracted to  build the new Royal Adelaide Hospital. Jorge was one of 2 workers killed at the site.

The union said that since 2014, 3 workers were killed on the company’s sites in South Australia.

The union highlighted that while the company managed to avoid punishment for Jorge’s death, the union had received more than $1 million in fines in South Australia, many of the fines relating to safety inspections as perceived at risk work sites.


Sixteen Year Old Inducted as Carpenter before Seven Metre Fall


The sixteen year old boy who fell seven metres down a staircase void and suffered serious injuries in October, was inducted as a carpenter the day before the terrible accident occurred.

There have since been questions raised about the supervision of youth on the site and other sites.

The young man was working on the site as part of a program by Master Builders, helping students at risk of dropping out by putting them into trade apprenticeships.

The teen apparently fell from a stepladder down a staircase void which resulted in serious injuries including a crushed shoulder and damaged vertebrae, requiring a metal rod to be put into his back.

The program is currently on hold as WorkSafe investigate the incident.

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Melbourne Company Fined for Forcing Worker to Join The Union


A Melbourne company involved in painting and decorating work and its director have been fined $20,000 after intimidating a worker into joining the CFMEU. The worker was told that he could not work at certain construction sites unless he joined the union.

The director of the firm confirmed that he did send a text message to workers informing them that they had to have valid union memberships or they could not work at 2 Melbourne sites.

When a worker questioned if the union membership was compulsory, the director said he would need to be a paid up member of the CFMEU before being allowed onto a particular worksite at Tullamarine.