Tradies out of Jewel job until design rectified

THE State Government is resigned to 900 tradies staying off the biggest construction site on the Gold Coast until developer Yuhu makes up its mind about new designs.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni yesterday declined to answer how he would help tradies get back on the tools at the $1.4 billion Jewel site in Surfers Paradise.

"Work has stopped on the site because Yuhu made a decision to pause work," Mr de Brenni said last night.

Jewel workers protesting as they are kept in the dark about the futures by developer Yuhu Group and project builder Multiplex. Picture: Sally Coates
Jewel workers protesting as they are kept in the dark about the futures by developer Yuhu Group and project builder Multiplex. Picture: Sally Coates


"It's clear from the Yuhu Group's statement made on Wednesday that once they identify a new hotel operator, and new fit-out requirements are determined, work will recommence."

The Bulletin contacted Kelly O'Dwyer, the newly minted Federal Minister for Industrial Relations, as her portfolio covers striking workers.

She did not respond.

Workers strike outside the development. Picture: Sally Coates
Workers strike outside the development. Picture: Sally Coates

Tradies dropped tools at Jewel last Thursday after Yuhu scrapped elements of the designs. It meant the loss of jobs for 100 workers.

Unions gave Yuhu and builder Multiplex a week to provide clarity but left a meeting on Wednesday disappointed and decided to strike.

Workers turned out in their hundreds yesterday at the stalled construction site.

Workers striking. Picture: Sally Coates
Workers striking. Picture: Sally Coates

The protest was driven by the Construction, Forestry Mining, Maritime and Energy Union (CFMEU), which donated more than $115,000 to Mr de Brenni's ALP in the lead up to last year's election.

In a passionate address to the large crowd, CFMEU Queensland/NT secretary Michael Ravbar said "we are going into battle", but told workers not to expect a quick conclusion.

Mr Ravbar called out developer Yuhu Group, saying it was only concerned about its "corporate image".

Mr Ravbar did not believe Yuhu's claim that only Australian workers would be subcontracted during retendering.

He said he had never experienced anything like what was playing out with the Jewel project.

"I've been around for a while and when people want to start retendering on the job two-thirds of the way through it … I've never gone through this scenario before," he said.

Yesterday at the Jewel site, union flags flew and large signs were displayed, making it clear how workers felt about the uncertainty.

"YooHoo Tom Tate tell ya mate I gotta put food on my kid's plate," one protesting worker had written on a placard.

Other messages said: "Yuhu if this is how you treat your major partner and Aussie worker hoo-roo Yuhu"; and "Yuhu can hide outta sight while someone flies their life but we will stand n fight to be treated right".