Published: 30 Apr 2024

Hundreds of workers have walked off Cross River Rail construction sites in Brisbane after the contractor CPB refused to agree to fair wages and conditions on the job.

Months after the CFMEU served the contractor with the workers’ log of claims, CPB has refused to budge on key issues including the introduction of a heat policy; a subcontractors clause to improve job security; and the inclusion of traffic controllers and cleaners in the agreement.

The protected industrial action comes after years of chaos and mismanagement by CPB and the Queensland Labor Government.

Quotes attributable to CFMEU Assistant State Secretary Jade Ingham:

“After slaving under a substandard AWU agreement for more than four years, Cross River Rail workers have stood up and said enough is enough.

“The seeds of this dispute were planted back in 2019, when the Queensland Labor Government did a dirty deal with the AWU that denied Cross River Rail workers a say in their Enterprise Bargaining Agreement.

“Since then, workers have suffered under CPB’s woeful mismanagement and corporate bastardry. Workers are fed up with CPB’s grubby divide-and-rule tactics, and they have had enough of seeing fellow workers maimed and killed on the job.

“This summer, more than 30 workers have been hospitalised and one labour-hire worker has died of heat stress, yet CPB refuses to agree to workers’ requests for an effective heat policy.

“Cross River Rail workers have joined the CFMEU in droves because CPB will not listen, the AWU will not speak up for them and the Queensland Government only cares about staged photo ops and spin.

“This democratic action is about giving the workers a voice and raising conditions on Queensland’s biggest infrastructure project to industry standard. And that’s why CPB – a greedy foreign multinational company – is refusing to budge in the negotiations.

“Civil construction workers are not second-class citizens, and for the first time they have an opportunity to have a say in their future. The CFMEU will back them all the way.”