Workers Take To Melbourne Streets


Over 10,000 construction workers marched through Melbourne’s CBD yesterday in a CFMEU-organised rally demanding greater work place safety from construction giant Grocon.

Many CBD arteries were blockaded and public transport lines suspended during the protest, which premier Dennis Napthine labeled as “absolutely disgusting”. Police escorted the protesters from Trades Hall to Swanston St where a minute of silence was observed at the Grocon site for the three victims of a wall collapse in March.

The rally then continued to the Lonsdale Street Emporium site where unionists and police clashed last year, before heading to the Fair Work Australia office on Exhibition St.

A minute's silence was also observed for the Lonsdale Street Emporium site. Last year a worker was injured during a scaffold collapse, which resulted in a weeklong picket line by the CFMEU. Photo by Dannika Bonser

Secretaries from the CFMEU, ETU and Plumbers Union gave impassioned speeches vowing to increase work place safety standards.

In a heated speech CFMEU Victorian secretary John Setka called WorkSafe a “toothless tiger”, claiming the Victorian Government had vested interests with Grocon and hadn’t yet begun an investigation into the Swanston St wall collapse. Photo by Dannika Bonser

Heeding calls of “discipline” and “peace” from rally leaders, the protest never looking like turning violent. Photo by Dannika Bonser

After the rally Setka and Electrical Trades Union secretary Troy Gray met briefly with WorkSafe CEO Denise Cosgrove to deliver a DVD of alleged Grocon safety issues. Mr Gray said every Member of Parliament would receive a copy of the DVD. Photo by Dannika Bonser

Grocon released a statement saying this was the next phase of the CFMEU’s plan to "smash Grocon" by using work place safety regulations as a front to “effectively run” their operations. Photo by Dannika Bonser






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