Tradies of the Jewel site just stood around the $1.4 billion development after they decided to strike.
Tradies of the Jewel site just stood around the $1.4 billion development after they decided to strike.

Gloves off in $1.4b Jewel site drama

THE Jewel high-rises developer claims it gave lead builder Multiplex a green light to publicly explain holdups a week ago - but striking workers say that's rubbish.

The gloves have come off after a week of upheaval leaving tradies and contractors at the three $1.4 billion beachfront high-rises uncertain about their futures or next pay cheque.

Aerial view of Jewel worksite after workers walked off the job. Picture Glenn Hampson
Aerial view of Jewel worksite after workers walked off the job. Picture Glenn Hampson

As the bulk quit in protest yesterday morning and Gold Coast Federal Minister Steven Ciobo called for "clarity", developer Yuhu Group Australia went on the offensive.

It accused Multiplex of being the one keeping the public and workers in the dark.

A Yuhu Group spokeswoman told the Bulletin Yuhu Group sent a letter to Multiplex on Thursday last week freeing them up to talk publicly.

 


"We wanted to know what was going on as well - and have it explained to the public," the Yuhu Group spokeswoman said before adding: "On September 27, Yuhu has encouraged Multiplex to provide a media release but that didn't occur."

But disgruntled Jewel workers striking and quitting the site yesterday said Multiplex representatives had told them they were in the dark too.

Tradies took their tool boxes off the Jewel site after they decided to strike because of the uncertainty they would lose their jobs.
Tradies took their tool boxes off the Jewel site after they decided to strike because of the uncertainty they would lose their jobs.

"Multiplex don't know what Yuhu want so they can't tell us what to do," one tradie said.

"Yuhu keep trying to blame it on getting a hotel operator but that is bulls - t."

Union official Scott Vink said: "They have said it is about the hotel but that is just one of the three towers and they have also stopped work on the two private towers."

He said tradies and subcontractors were getting no information from either Yuhu or Multiplex.

Union heavyweight Michael Ravbar said Yuhu didn't know what it wanted now.

Al Drescher was picked up from work early by daughter Mia and wife Jackie on Wednesday after more than 800 tradies decided to strike at the Jewel.
Al Drescher was picked up from work early by daughter Mia and wife Jackie on Wednesday after more than 800 tradies decided to strike at the Jewel.

"Multiplex say they can't talk because of contracts. They are the principal contractor and they hold all the money in regards to paying all the subcontractors, and all the workers.

"For them to try and make no public comment is not acceptable either."

The Bulletin asked Multiplex about the September 27 instructions from Yuhu Group but - as has been the case for a week - it did not comment.

The triple towers - which topped out at 41, 47 and 34 storeys six weeks ago - resembled a ghost town by yesterday afternoon with work all but at a standstill.

Yuhu Group has previously explained the designs of showpiece lower podium levels were still being finalised as are hotel elements - and it planned to retender for some work.

A hotel operator was still to be confirmed but expected within weeks, it has said.

In response to Bulletin questions, Yuhu Group yesterday further clarified previous developer Wanda-Ridong was intending to manage the hotel - and interior design and fit out "was carried out to their specifications".

"It has become clear a new international hotel operator is required. Yuhu will take guidance from the chosen operator when finalising design and configuration elements to ensure the hotel also reflects the operator's signature and feel.

"Whilst this is happening we have acted in strict accordance with our legal advice and the contract to put on hold some of the works to avoid construction delays and to provide clarity to the head contractor Multiplex.

"We have in turn requested that Multiplex communicate with their subcontractors."

Yuhu Group's statement said cost wise it preferred not to make changes but it was inevitable a new hotel operator would "impose their own mark".

Asked what would happen regarding materials purchased by suppliers and subcontractors, Yuhu Group stated: "Yuhu has informed Multiplex all non-returnable supplies purchased up to and including September 21 will be paid for."

"Multiplex knows this project better than anyone and they are in a good position to tender. We would absolutely welcome their participation," Yuhu Group said.