JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Unions forced to give 24 hours' notice before worksite inspections, under new legislation

Unions will have to give at least 24-hours written notice before entering work sites under new legislation introduced by the government.

Flagged late least year, the changes will make it harder for unionised sites to stop work if workers judge it to be unsafe.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said it would mean the end of "construction unions using safety as an industrial weapon", but the Queensland Council of Unions said it would enable the small number of "disreputable employers" the time to try and cover up work site issues.

"At the end of the day most companies do the right thing, but those who want to cut corners will use this as an opportunity to hide health and safety issues," Mr Battams said.

"Under the previous legislation, workers could call in representatives to look into any issues, but now they have to wait one day.

"If there are issues, then the Attorney-General needs to deal with them, straight up. What he shouldn't do is introduce laws which will reduce health and safety regulations for everyone."

But Mr Bleijie said it was about moving the construction industry, one of the government's much touted "four pillars", forward.

"I have personally heard of stories from hard working Queenslanders who have been locked out of their workplace because of militant union activity. Earlier this year, a major contractor lost 42 days of work due to illegal strike activity in the first year of their enterprise agreement," he told parliament, referencing the new Children's Hospital site.

"Sites are being hijacked and workers held to ransom. This practice has to end.

"This bill will restore balance to the system – there will be legitimate avenues for safety issues to be raised and dealt with appropriately but using safety to hijack sites and bully contractors on work sites will end.

"...Every Queenslander deserves to go to work, do their job without interference, get paid and be treated fairly."

Mr Bleijie said the bill should not be seen "as a lowering of safety standards" but a way to make workplaces safe without "choking businesses with paperwork and unnecessary red tape".

In a statement issued after he introduced the legislation, Mr Bleijie said workplace health and safety officers had responded to 57 right of entry disputes since July 2011 but found "the majority of safety issues raised were not immediate or imminent risks to workers".

“While a royal commission into union governance and corruption recently announced by the federal government will shine a light on similar problems, our reforms put Queensland ahead of the game in tackling them," Mr Bleijie said.

The bill has been sent for review to a parliamentary committee, but the government is under no obligation to take any of its recommendations on board.

52 comments so far

  • Here we Joh again...
    by all means, let's give employers time to intimidate workers and hide evidence of unsafe work practices. Don't you just love democracy??

    Commenter
    Chris R
    Date and time
    February 14, 2014, 1:15AM
    • Chris R, are there any union hacks out there who can write a notice?.

      Commenter
      Thepres
      Date and time
      February 14, 2014, 3:10PM
    • How many serious injuries or deaths will it take to repeal

      Commenter
      Mike D
      Date and time
      February 14, 2014, 5:43PM
  • This is yet another despicable LNP attack on unions as part of an overall plan designed to weaken their strength so the LNP can attack workers conditions and rights. The witchhunt announced by the Federal LNP is also part of this attack strategy. If the LNP succeed then people will wonder were all their working conditions and rights have vanished because the LNP will have removed them all without any major opposition to them from organised worker organisations aka: Unions. This is the thing that is most commonly forgotten n the debate - the unions are the common workers representatives on industrial matters so those workers don't have to worry about those issues on a daily basis. If you remove unions the workers will not be organised and consequently they will (1) have absolutely no bargaining power, (2) and will be trodden all over by big business which would be happy to see wages and conditions slashed just to improve their bottom line. That is exactly what the LNP wants - they wealthy mates getting wealthy - screwing over the rest of the population.

    Commenter
    Kristian
    Location
    Ulverstone
    Date and time
    February 14, 2014, 1:25AM
    • does any one think this is counter productive? It will only end up in Unions bombarding workplaces with excessive notices, and whats preventing a union safety officer checking the whole site once the notice has been given. Another failure in the high courts coming up for the Newman gov.

      Commenter
      Tim
      Location
      InnerCity
      Date and time
      February 14, 2014, 1:38AM
      • So what if the majority of safety issues were not immediate. It still means that there were safety issues of immediate threat to workers. Those situations must be rectified immediately, not 24 hours later.

        This is once again an attack, not just on unions, but on every Queensland worker. This government is a disgrace with this attack on the welfare and even the lives of workers.

        Would anyone in their right mind expect anyone to work when it is unsafe to do so?.

        Commenter
        Chronos
        Date and time
        February 14, 2014, 1:44AM
        • So on Bleijie's evidence the Workplace health and Safety Officers responded to less than 2 right of entry disputes a month since July 2011.

          This is a problem invented by the Newman government to justify unnecessary but draconian laws that will not guarantee safer workplaces for workers.

          Commenter
          Ken of Brisbane
          Date and time
          February 14, 2014, 1:51AM
          • Typical LNP. Every time they get the chance they kick the little man in the guts. This setting the scene for someone to be killed... but of course the LNP doesn't believe that employers can do anything wrong.

            Commenter
            Scottie
            Date and time
            February 14, 2014, 6:13AM
            • "...Every Queenslander deserves to go to work, do their job without interference, get paid and be treated fairly."

              this is the main reason for most of the stoppage's at the childrens hospital the men were not getting paid .
              and someone with something to hide would agree with the 24 hour wait safety officers should be allowed on any site at any time

              Commenter
              max
              Location
              qld
              Date and time
              February 14, 2014, 6:57AM
              • Sorry, pay dispute about how much you signed a contract for doesn't count. Which is what most of those stopping working was about. Different subcontractors getting paid different amounts. Has nothing to do with saftey and shouldn't be allowed to happen. If I did that at work I would be sacked, not sure why building industry gets away with it.

                Commenter
                MS1968
                Date and time
                February 14, 2014, 10:17AM

            More comments

            Make a comment

            You are logged in as [Logout]

            All information entered below may be published.

            Error: Please enter your screen name.

            Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

            Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

            Error: Please enter your comment.

            Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

            Post to

            You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

            Thank you

            Your comment has been submitted for approval.

            Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

            Featured advertisers

            Special offers

            Credit card, savings and loan rates by Mozo