Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett
Premier urges Pluto workers to end strike
Victor P Taffa
Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett today urged workers at the Pluto LNG Project to immediately return to work and negotiate with their employer.
“This is an illegal strike over a fairly trivial matter,” Mr Barnett said.
“I will support workers if they raise genuine issues about safety or unfair conditions but this strike is not about that. The accommodation is new it is well serviced and comfortable.
“If they do not return to work, I will call on the Federal Government to intervene and use legal powers, including prosecutions.”
The workers yesterday voted to continue their strike until January 30 which could lead to contempt of court charges and a jail term. They can also be fined up to $22,000 under the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act.
The Federal Court has granted an interim injunction against the workers, valid until 5pm on February 5.
“This dispute is damaging our international reputation. It is already the case that construction costs in the Pilbara are high by world standards,” the Premier said.
“This action and its cost threaten future investment. It also makes it extremely difficult to achieve high levels of Australian content and jobs in major construction projects.
“This is the first serious test of Federal Labor’s new industrial regime.”