||Issue No. 183||20 June 2003|
A Beautiful Set of Numbers?
History: Nest of Traitors
Interview: A Nation of Hope
Unions: National Focus
Safety: The Shocking Truth
Tribute: A Comrade Departed
History: Working Bees
Education: The Big Picture
International: Static Labour
Economics: Budget And Fudge It
Technology: Google and Campaigning
Review: Secretary With A Difference
Poetry: The Minimale
Satire: Howard Calls for Senate to be Replaced by Clap-O-Meter
The Locker Room
Is Beazley's Popularity a Winner?
Task Force Sleeps Through Killing
“If we ask someone to join the union they’re all over us for months,” CFMEU organiser, Martin Wyer, said, “but a man gets killed, the boss has no paperwork, basic safety precautions aren’t followed and they aren’t interested.
"It shows they have an agenda."
The dead man was bricklayer, David Hands, 62. A 3m high brick wall tumbled and struck him on the head as he crouched over his tool box. Witnesses said ambulance officers resuscitated Hands but he died of his injuries later in hospital.
His workmate, a non-unionist, scarpered but was located by police. The Irishman is now in Villawood Detention Centre facing allegations that he has worked in Australia without a permit since 1987.
The pair, along with employer Wayne Morris, made up the workforce of KLA Bricklaying, contracted on the redevelopment of a Military Rd site owned by Sutherland-based builder-developer, Innovative Property Developments.
Innovative owners, Edward Rosenbaum and Jacob Baiderman, are understood to be replacing the original house with six home units.
Wyer accused the sub-contractor of having no safe work method statement, required by law; no bracing on the wall; and allowing work to proceed without the use of hard hats.
"That's the worst thing," Wyer said, "any one of those basic precautions could have saved this man's life. We went down to the basement and that was a death trap but nobody should be killed by a wall that is only four bricks thick.
"It is very sad because it was so preventable."
Workers Online understands the tragedy has also raised question marks over whether the subcontractor was up to date with workers comp premiums or making superannuation contributions, both required by the law.
The Interim Task Force, headed by former Federal policeman Nigel Hadgkiss, was set by Federal Government on the recommendation of Building Industry Royal Commissioner Terence Cole. Its brief is to police the building industry.
The North Bondi tragedy, however, sounds like a re-run of Cole Commission hearings which refused to investigate claims that the industry was rife with safety breaches, illegal immigration and employers dodging legal obligations.
Instead, the hearings concentrated on finding fault with union responses to those situations. Already, the Interim Task Force has attracted similar accusations of bias.
In an industry that kills 50 workers a year, and was identified by the ATO as a major source of tax evasion and corporate skulduggery, the task force has yet to launch a single prosecution against an industry employer.
During EBA stoppages in Brisbane earlier this year, it was accused of bugging the telephones of ETU officials.
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