Electrical Trades Union strike at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
Electrical Trades Union strike at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital. Warren Lynam

Tradies risk $10,800 fine at hospital site

HUNDREDS of tradies at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital are continuing to down tools and defy the Fair Work Commission, risking fines of $10,800 each.

The industrial action, involving about 800 workers at the Birtinya site, appeared to involve a stoush over the Federal Government's plan to introduce a building code.

The Fair Work Commission on Friday ordered all employees of developer Lendlease and subcontractors back to work.

"Industrial action must stop, not occur and not be organised," the order said.

The 24 parties bound in the order included waterproofers, engineers, painters, tilers, scaffolders, joiners and landscapers.

The Daily visited the hospital site yesterday and there was little evidence of work in progress.


ETU members guarded each entrance to the once busy construction site where 1000 people would normally be at work.

ETU State Organiser Dan Bessell said only a handful of "scabs" were inside.

Fair Work Building and Construction is investigating and, if evidence of unprotected industrial action is found, it has the power to file a matter in the federal court.

"FWBC is aware of the situation at Sunshine Coast University," a spokesman said.

"As this is currently an operational matter, it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.

"Under the Fair Work Act 2009, the maximum penalty for unlawful industrial action is $10,800 for an individual or $54,000 for an organisation."

Would you risk a $10,000 fine to stand up for the principle?

This poll ended on 17 May 2016.

Current Results

Yes. You have to stand up for what you believe is right.


No. It's not worth it.


I hope I don't ever have to make the choice.


This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

ETU Assistant State Secretary Peter Ong said an agreement had almost been reached with contractor Nilsen "apart from clauses in the contract which would not be compliant with the proposed Code".

"The real crux of the problem is the Federal Government tried to introduce a Building Construction Code 2014," he said.

"This code is worse than Work Choices and has been rejected three times in the Senate."

He said the union didn't want to "bring it down to a political issue" as it "comes down to this code".

"This code is stopping contractors agreeing to the EBA," he said.

Lendlease declined to comment.