Allegations union officials swore at workplace safety inspectors

Allegations union officials swore at workplace safety inspectors

Union officials allegedly swore at Workplace Health and Safety inspectors, leaving them feeling threatened, estimates hearings were told.

Heavily redacted documents obtained by the LNP through a Right to Information request detailed allegations of incidents of swearing, verbal abuse and intimidating behaviour.

At estimates hearings, Industrial Relations Grace Grace faces questions about unions.

At estimates hearings, Industrial Relations Grace Grace faces questions about unions.Credit:AAP

One page said: "[Redacted] organiser [redacted] was swearing at and abusing [redacted] in front of approximately eight staff. He then turned to Inspector [redacted] pointing his finger at [redacted] and said words to the effect of I am putting you on notice for letting this happen. This was a threatening and intimidating experience."

An incident dated in February said: [Redacted] official [redacted] stated that I was "f---ing useless".


Office of Industrial Relations deputy director-general Simon Blackwood said there had been some complaints from inspectors "about interactions in workplaces".

"As a consequence of that, recently, we have our health and wellbeing committee, and at the moment we're finalising a work-related violence policy guidelines and fact sheet," he said.

"This has been an ongoing issue for us for many years - we do get the odd complaint where inspectors in their interactions with workplaces, whether they're interacting with employers and other industrial organisations, will receive some abuse from time to time."

Mr Blackwood said the office received complaints from inspectors but previously did not have a formal process.

"We've recognised as a result of discussions with our workforce that we need to put in place a formal process so that if people are making complaints within our organisation that they are acted on by our management," he said.

LNP opposition Industrial Relations spokesman Jarrod Bleijie asked for the number of complaints of bullying or intimidation from staff about trade union officials during the past year during estimates hearings.

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said she did not know whether Mr Bleijie's question referred to formal, written or "just comments".

"I believe that is a workload that the, the deputy director-general responded to this, as much as they're working through this now, they're putting a process in place, no, I will not take that [question] on notice," she said.

Mr Bleijie interjected: "These are her staff in the public service, you are protecting the unions ahead of your staff."

Estimates were told there were no workers compensation claims lodged by inspectors relating to union officials.

Felicity Caldwell is state political reporter at the Brisbane Times

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