Dumped 'without notice'

Truck Driver Anissa Smith says her contract carting material for the LNG Projects on Curtis island ended without any notice.
Truck Driver Anissa Smith says her contract carting material for the LNG Projects on Curtis island ended without any notice. Tom Huntley

TRUCK drivers carrying material to LNG projects on Curtis Island are angry about the way their contracts have ended.

A number of companies have been subcontracting under Bechtel to cart aggregate from a quarry on the mainland to the island.

Three separate truckies contacted The Observer to say their contracts, along with 80-100 other drivers, were ended without any warning on Thursday.

They said they understood why the contracts had ended, as they were told on Thursday the necessary materials had been carted to the island.

Their complaint is that they were not given enough notice and had believed there was still more cartage to be done before the contract ended. They were also worried about how long it would take to find new jobs on the Bechtel's projects.

Bechtel Gladstone general manager Kevin Berg said the company had given its subcontractors the appropriate notice under the contracts. "As with all construction projects, it is normal to progressively demobilise as contracts come to completion in alignment with the construction schedule," he said.

"The project is moving into a new phase of construction and as a result much of the work of transporting aggregate by truck is now complete.

"The level of notification from Bechtel to the subcontractor was within the contract agreement. Subcontractors are responsible for the notification given to their employees."

On the question of the truckies finding new positions on Bechtel's LNG projects, Mr Berg said: "There are still many opportunities for positions on these construction projects, both directly with Bechtel and with our subcontractors".

The truckies who spoke to The Observer yesterday were furious at their treatment, albeit that they did not know which company had failed to give them more notice. They said they had leases on rental properties in Gladstone and wanted to keep working on the major projects.

Apart from Anissa Smith, none of the truckies was willing to be named.

However, there was a variety of opinion about the handling of the contracts.

Kevin Berg said Bechtel was still actively recruiting across all three LNG projects. It currently has 7000 employees, with more than 50 per cent being local.

"Our recruitment team is willing to talk to anyone that has transferable skills and is willing to be redeployed," he said.

Topics:  lng sacked truck drivers

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