Chinese Workers At Royal Hobart Hospital Halted Plastering Work

The Royal Hobart Hospital is currently under construction but more than a hundred of its plasterers had to stop working at the site because of dispute regarding their qualifications, wages and their visas. According to Kevin Harkins of CFMEU, 120 of the said workers are under Chinese visa and they were contracted by Accuracy Interiors which is a Melbourne-based company. There is a shortage of plasterer in Sydney that they need to outsource with foreign workers.

Harkins said that the current problem is that the workers are complaining that they were not able to receive their salary. Some were not paid for six weeks while others as long as eight weeks. This is the reason why CFMEU has decided to intervene with the dispute in order to ensure that the workers get the money they deserve for working and that it is paid to them correctly.

They are also asking about other work-related matters such as if they have the correct visa in order to be employed in the country or if they are receiving the right salary based on the wage rates.

Mr. Harkins added that the foreman of the company has already been asked to leave the site prior to their visit and some workers are waiting to be paid as much as $12,000. Around 40 of the plasterers from Tasmania were recruited by the same company but unlike the Chinese workers they continued working.

He explained that there could be some delays resulting from this incident. All the local workers who were paid properly as they were registered in a union enterprise agreement are able to resume work without a hitch but the same cannot be said for the Chinese plasterers because they decided to halt working until the problem has been addressed.

One of the Chinese workers admitted that they are just borrowing money in order to pay for their food as they have gone six weeks without payment. The redevelopment project may be forced to hire additional plasterer in Sydney as there is no assurance as to when the dispute will be settled between parties.