||Issue No. 308||26 May 2006|
If the Answer is Nuclear ….
Interview: Out of the Bedroom
Industrial: Cloak and Dagger
Legal: The Fantasy of Choice
Politics: Labor Pains
Economics: Economics and the Public Purpose
Corporate: House of Horrors
History: Clash Of Cultures
International: Childs Play
Culture: Folk You Mate!
Review: Last Holeproof Hero
The Locker Room
Riders on the Strom
No Gerry Can
Insight Fires Up
Lets Get Physical, Building Bosses
In one instance, a builder turned a hose on a 64-year-old safety expert and tried to frog march him out the gate.
In another, a dodgy operator set a "human German Shepherd" on an authorised safety rep. CFMEU official Mal Tulloch was thrown across an office and had a chair thrown at him while he was on the ground.
They were two of three assaults on construction union officials, attempting to carry out safety audits on Sydney building sites in the last month.
The CFMEU and Unions NSW will meet with police in an effort to educate officers on the beat and stop the violence.
CFMEU state secretary, Andrew Ferguson, says the aggressive anti-union campaign mounted by Canberra has led to misunderstandings of the legal rights of authorised officials.
"Under state health and safety laws our officials have the right to carry out health and safety checks in the interests of members, and the public, when they have genuine concerns about standards," Ferguson said.
"In every one of these cases, our officials were proven right. When Workcover finally got on the sites, they issued prohibition or improvement notices."
Veteran safety expert, Dick Whitehead, 64, said he had never experienced anything like the reception he got from an IR manager at Mt Druitt, last week.
"I was talking to the project manager, showing him my right of entry permit, when the IR manager walked past and gave me a mouthful," he said.
"Next thing, he dials Triple 0 and tells the police he needs back up because people are invading his site. Then he picks the hose up, turns it on full bore and tries to hose me out the gate.
"I was angry but I knew what he was up to. He came over, forced my arm up my back and tried to march me out the gate.
"I know he wanted me to fight back because, for sure, I would have been arrested."
Whitehead, a former Workcover inspector, said when police arrived they took the IR manager's side, despite the legal rights of himself and a colleague.
It wasn't until a senior inspector arrived that CFMEU and WorkCover inspectors were escorted through the gate.
The state health and safety authority wrote out six notices identifying separate safety shortcomings that required attention.
Whitehead said didn't blame young police officers because they had never been educated about right of entry entitlements.
"We need police officers on the ground to understand the law," he said. "Construction is a dangerous industry and these right of entry provisions are about lives."
Tulloch told Workers Online he had been assaulted by a person he could best describe as a "human German Shepherd" when he had tried to investigate a Parramatta site that posed "obvious risks" to the passing public.
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