Building workers have started walking off the job this morning on Lend Lease projects in Victoria, in protest at contempt charges being pursued against a Queensland unionist.
Industry sources said workers at all Lend Lease, Baulderstone and Abigroup jobs in the state would walk off the job for the day.
It is understood at some sites workers have already left.
Lend Lease owns Abigroup and Baulderstone, which are major players in construction. In Queensland, Abigroup is pursuing 18 contempt charges against veteran unionist Bob Carnegie after a nine week dispute last year at that state's Children's Hospital.
About 500 unionists marched from the Federal Court to the company's headquarters in Brisbane on Monday. They chanted ''hands off Bob'' and ''Lend Lease and Abigroup scum''.
In Victoria, ''defend Bob Carnegie'' flyers have been distributed on building sites which accuse Abigroup of a ''spiteful attempt to intimidate every community activist who may in future wish to assist workers in obtaining justice.''
Abigroup originally had pursued Mr Carnegie for 54 charges of contempt of court but reduced that to 18. They include being within 100 metres of the company's site, organising a picket, abusive language and threats to an employee.
Unions have warned of civil unrest if Mr Carnegie is jailed.