Bechtel responds to picket action by CFMEU

UPDATE 12.30PM: Bechtel has responded to strike action by CFMEU workers in Gladstone this morning.

Bechtel's Gladstone manager Kevin Berg said the company had been appalled at the behaviour by picketing workers.

"We're outraged that the CFMEU, which says safety is a priority, would behave like this.

"Many of the protestors who turned up prior to 4am were clearly under the influence of alcohol and even brought alcohol with them," Mr Berg said.

"We believe everyone has the right to have their say. However, the CFMEU's actions today are completely unacceptable and illegal.

"Many were CFMEU officials and even people who have no association with the projects at all."

Mr Berg said Bechtel wanted to thank the "vast majority of our 13,000 employees for their patience and tolerance".

"Many reported to work as normal, despite the unsafe and illegal actions of a few," he said.

Mr Berg said people affiliated with the CFMEU had sought to disrupt the three projects on Curtis Island by blocking access to ferry terminals.

EARLIER: Traffic was backed up for kilometres at the GLNG, QCLNG and APLNG ferry terminals in Gladstone on Thursday morning as union members picketed over the four on/one off work roster on Curtis Island.

It was reported that traffic was backed up for more than 3.5km around Port Central as CFMEU members began their strike action against construction giant Bechtel.

A number of people were arrested at the protest, Gladstone police confirmed.

Two to three hundred people were gathered around Port Central.

Gladstone police were on scene at Port Central and the APLNG wharf site from 3.30am to keep the peace.

Two people were arrested - one for wilful damage and the other for contravening a police direction.


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The union picket affected traffic across Gladstone.

A police spokesman said there were alternate routes around the congestion, but drivers needed to be patient and wait for the backlog to clear.

Striking workers are concerned about lifestyle conditions such as rotation rosters, rather than pay.

Bechtel is able to lock out any workers or sections of people unable to continue their work due to the action.

Gladstone residents took to social media to highlight their frustration at traffic delays, with one saying the protesters "don't stop to realise that non-Bechtel and non-island workers need to get to work".

"They don't just stop their work, they stop other businesses too. Picketing should be made illegal," she said.

One worker commented that they had been trying to negotiate with Bechtel over future rosters.

"They have given us three last and final new contracts to sign. All with little to no change in conditions," he said.

"They have ceased 'negotiating' with us. This is why we applied for protected action. Now we have this protected action. We are within our rights to take action."

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