Construction projects across Sydney, the Hunter and the Central Coast will face significant disruption and delays after concrete giant Hanson responded to workers’ same-job same-pay claims by threatening to lock them out for up to six days.
As part of ongoing bargaining with the company, more than 50 tip-truck drivers at the Brandy Hill and Kulnura sites notified the company earlier this week of their intention to take protected industrial action on Friday, including uniform bans, refueling bans and a 24-hour work stoppage.
Hanson management responded to these legally protected actions by threatening drivers with extreme lockouts, ranging from a full day for workers participating in uniform bans to lockouts of six days for those who take part in a work stoppage of any length.
Hanson’s tip-truck drivers in the Hunter and Central Coast are paid significantly lower rates than drivers employed by the company to perform the same work in Sydney and the South Coast.
TWU NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen said workers would not be bullied by Hanson’s threats and that the industrial action would proceed as planned.
“Hanson can threaten their workers all they like – they won’t be deterred from fighting for a fair deal for themselves and their families” Mr Olsen said.
“These drivers are not asking for the world; all they’re asking for is to be paid the same as other drivers doing the exact same job for the exact same company/”
“The question Hanson needs to answer is simple: why do they believe drivers on the Central Coast and in the Hunter deserve to be paid significantly less than those doing the same job somewhere else, and why are they going to such extreme lengths to protect this two-tiered pay system?”
“Drivers are more than willing to sit down with the company to reach a fair agreement that includes equal pay, but rather than coming to the table for sensible negotiations Hanson management have spat the dummy and responded with these extreme lockout threats.
Hanson performs work on a number of major NSW and Commonwealth Government projects including the Sydney Gateway, Rozelle Interchange and Western Sydney Airport.
During the COVID pandemic, Hanson forced a large number of full-time drivers onto individual flexibility agreements under which they became permanent part-time and were also required to take annual leave every week, with those who refused threatened with redundancy.
The lockout threats are the latest example of Hanson’s disdain for its own workforce. More than 100 workers were forced into isolation last July after management’s inadequate response to several COVID cases at the company’s Greenacre site led to a mass-exposure event and the subsequent closure of the site.
A copy of the Hanson memo threatening the lockouts is available here.