Min­ers’ bad be­hav­iour cost­ing jobs

Pilbara News - - News - Tim Clarke

The bad be­hav­iour of work­ers at one of Aus­tralia’s big­gest projects has again been brought into fo­cus, af­ter it was re­vealed al­most 30 con­trac­tors have been kicked off the $45 bil­lion Wheat­stone liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas project site in the last year for vi­o­lence, drunk­en­ness, theft, ha­rass­ment and dam­age.

Dur­ing a suc­cess­ful un­fair dis­missal claim by one worker, who drunk­enly smashed a chalet shower screen dur­ing an ar­gu­ment with his part­ner, bosses of con­trac­tor Bech­tel ad­mit­ted that 128 work­ers had been re­moved from the site for breach­ing its own com­mu­nity code. Half of those evic­tions were be­cause of “vi­o­lence, threat­ened vi­o­lence or ag­gres­sive be­hav­iour”, while oth­ers were sent home for leav­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion trashed and rooms smeared with blood.

About 7500 work­ers still live on­site at the Wheat­stone LNG project, just 12km from Onslow. In the dis­puted in­ci­dent from Septem­ber, $246,000-a-year rig­ger Jake Clarkin was sacked af­ter a “long, loud and ag­gres­sive” ar­gu­ment with his part­ner which caused other guests at Onslow Sun Chalets and Mo­tel to com­plain.

Mr Clarkin claimed un­fair dis­missal, and the Fair Work Com­mis­sion agreed, or­der­ing him to be re­in­stated with two months pay docked.

But dur­ing the hear­ing, Bech­tel’s em­ploy­ment re­la­tions su­per­in­ten­dent Adam Leary said “se­ri­ous pub­lic dis­tur­bance or se­ri­ous mis­con­duct in Onslow” would re­sult in the ter­mi­na­tion or re­moval of work­ers.

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