Health & Safety Rep sacked on Perth-Mandurah rail project
LEIGHTON sacks Occupational Health & Safety Rep from rail job after he speaks out against Government's new Industrial Relations laws.
Download the media release:Mal sacking_9 August 06.pdf
Mal Peters, the last remaining Occupational Health and Safety Rep employed on the Perth to Mandurah rail construction job (city end) has been sacked by project builder Leighton after speaking out publicly about the impact of the potential $28,600 fines on him and his family.
Mr. Peters was told yesterday by Leighton that it was terminating his contract effective immediately for "operational reasons".
Leighton’s part of the rail job is not due to finish until at least April 2007, and there are still up to 200 workers employed on its part of the project. Of the six worker-elected occupational health and safety representatives that worked on the project a year ago, Mr Peters was the sole survivor.
Mr. Peters returned last week from two weeks annual leave, which he and his wife used to fly to the eastern states to report to the ACTU, the national CFMEU and to talk to workers in three states about the impact of the Government’s prosecution on 107 rail job workers and their families.
State Secretary of the CFMEU, Kevin Reynolds said that Mal had lost his job simply for speaking out publicly about the Government's building industry and work laws, used to serve 107 rail project workers with summonses for federal prosecution, with potential fines of up to $28,600.
"This is a case of an employer using the Government's new IR laws to intimidate and threaten any worker who wants to speak out about the Government's laws," Mr. Reynolds said.
"First, Mal's family was served a summons late at night threatening him and his family with a $28,600 fine. They were already worried about losing their home. Now he has been sacked.
"The fact that he is the OHS officer on the site just makes this worse. This is industrial relations the Howard Government way. Big businesses like Leighton can use these laws to sack people at will for standing up for their civil rights, and the rights of their fellow workmates," Mr. Reynolds said.
The CFMEU is meeting today with Mr. Peters to prepare to take his case to court.
"We will be standing by Mal and his family. We believe this is clearly a case of Mal being sacked for carrying out his legislated duties as a WA OHS representative and for just speaking out about the Federal Governments' work laws." Mr. Reynolds said.
Press queries: Jim Mellor @
CFMEU office, 82 Royal St., Level 1, East Perth
9221 1055 or 0404 066 671
Leighton Fourth-Quarter Profit Rises on Mining, Roads
Bloomberg: Aug. 14
Leighton Holdings Ltd., Australia's biggest engineering and construction company, increased fourth- quarter profit 14 percent on road and rail projects and mining demand. The shares gained 3.1 percent.
Net income increased to A$107 million ($82 million) in the three months ended June 30, from A$93.8 million a year earlier. The earnings were calculated by subtracting nine-month results from the record A$276 million full-year profit the Sydney-based company reported today.
"The outlook for the group is very positive, driven by a record level of work and an extended construction and resources upswing in Australia,'' Chief Executive Officer Wal King said in a statement. He forecast profit to rise at least 15 percent this year on sales of more than A$11 billion.
King plans to expand Leighton's fleet of mining trucks and excavators by a quarter over the coming years to meet Asia's booming demand for commodities such as iron-ore and coal, which boosted orders at the company's contract mining unit. Leighton also benefits from new road and rail projects in Australia.
"The suggestion of 15 percent growth has been taken fairly well,'' said Brent Mitchell, an analyst at Shaw Stockbroking Ltd. in Melbourne. Leighton will continue to win construction work because ``they've got the balance sheet, and they've got the track record of getting the job done,'' he said.
The company's shares climbed 54 cents to A$17.95 at the market close in Sydney, their biggest rise in two months. Full- year earnings beat Leighton's A$258 million profit forecast while fourth-quarter sales climbed 33 percent to A$2.89 billion.
The company's work in hand, or projects to be completed in the next five years, was at a record A$16 billion, unchanged from March. It was boosted by the company's February takeover of bankrupt Henry Walker Eltin Group Ltd., Australia's biggest iron ore contract miner, which contributed A$1.6 billion of work.
"We believe our work levels will stay at least around the A$16 billion'' in the current year, King said in a Bloomberg television interview. The company has negotiated A$3 billion to A$4 billion of new contracts since the end of June and is waiting for them to be awarded, he said.
Sales at Leighton's engineering and infrastructure units surged by 52 percent to A$4.19 billion for the full year, boosted by work in Australia including Sydney's Westlink M7 tollway. The non-residential construction market is expected to be worth A$49 billion this year, the highest ever, King said.
In the three months through June, a group Leighton belongs to won a contract worth at least A$2 billion to build and manage Brisbane's North-South Bypass Tunnel. Leighton also secured contracts to build the A$300 million Australian Defense Force headquarters in New South Wales state, and A$545 million worth of work in Qatar.
"Transport infrastructure will continue to be a key driver of revenue over the next year,'' King told reporters at a briefing in Sydney. "There's no shortage of major infrastructure projects.''
Australian Treasurer Peter Costello has set aside A$2.3 billion for new roads and rail projects in his budget for the year started July 1. State governments will spend more than A$13 billion on water projects such as recycling and desalination plants around Australia over the next five years, King said.
Leighton, which is finishing a casino in Macau for Wynn Resorts Ltd., is also in talks to manage the $1 billion construction of the City of Dreams casino in the former Portuguese colony for James Packer's Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd. and Melco International Development Ltd. "The decision should be finalized in the next week,'' King said.
The company's mining services unit, which mines coal, gold and iron ore for resources companies, increased full-year sales by 37 percent to A$2.6 billion on booming demand from China.
"Industrialization and urbanization in China is a tremendous driving force of demand for these resources,'' King said. "|We see this trend continuing for at least the next few years, with development in India starting to ramp up.''
Over the next months, there'll be more mining opportunities in India than in China, King said. He wants to tap the boom by winning contracts to build toll roads, railways, warehouses and factories.
Leighton would like to acquire more businesses to meet demand, after buying Henry Walker Eltin in February, King said on Bloomberg television. "We've got the financial strength to do it, it's a question of target companies appearing,'' he said.
The company will pay a second-half dividend of 41 cents a share, taking its payout for the year to 66 cents, up from 50 cents in 2005.
Leighton is 53.1 percent owned by Hochtief AG, Germany's biggest builder.