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John Holland up to their normal tricks meanwhile the Victorian Government are missing in action. Again.

March 2, 2022

John Holland is the principal contractor supplying the Westgate Tunnel Project. Like a complicated family tree many subcontractors link to John Holland to complete certain stages of the project. The AWU has discovered that at least two separate subcontractors are operating under what is known as sham contracting. 

Sham contracting occurs when the employer treats the employee as an ‘independent contractor’ when they’re not. Sham contracting agreements are then created to avoid paying employee entitlements, such as superannuation, overtime, and sick leave. 

On this family tree is LS Precast Benalla, they make the concrete panels for the WGTP and are one of the many subcontractors used by John Holland. LS Precast has their own subcontractors Rocktown construction who supply the labour hire for these works, Rocktown then has used an unknown NSW based and allegedly unregistered company within Victoria, Century Interior Services PTY LTD to supply workers. 

Ten Chinese workers were hired by Century Interior Services PTY LTD to complete the pre-cast works. The AWU believes that these workers were getting paid $30 per hour with no contracts, no super, no entitlements and zero overtime for a 60-hour week. Two of these workers were fired due to their affiliation and membership with the Australian Workers’ Union. 

This is not the first time that the two workers have been involved in underpayment. In NSW a case was raised to the Fair Work Commission about exploitation and underpayment in the horticultural industry. Now in Victoria they face the same situation but in the construction sector. 

The AWU has made attempts to contact John Holland but have been sent down the family tree to Rocktown for more clarification. Allegedly these workers have now been offered employment for $50 per hour (flat rate), however this still does not include entitlements, such as superannuation, overtime, sick leave or workers compensation coverage. 

Boral Concrete Testers are another branch on the family tree that makes up the WGTP. The main role they have is to visit each site and check for the consistency, quality and integrity of the concrete being poured. On February 15th of this year Boral employees took protected industrial action in response to enterprise agreement talks with the company. Boral’s reaction to this was to hire several workers from NSW to assist in the concrete testing of sites. To do this Boral engaged subcontractors Global Contracting and M&B Concrete Testing to complete the jobs, these subcontractors then hired individuals that were kitted out in Boral uniforms but using a personal ABN.It is the AWU’s understanding that the two companies did not have a labour hire licence, which is required by state legislation. 

Two cases of separate sham contracting on the one major project, which the Victorian Government is responsible for, and they have yet again gone missing in action. Victorian State Secretary of the AWU, Ben Davis is calling on the Victorian Government to investigate these rogue contractors, audit the subcontractor supply chain and take responsibility for a project that is already years behind schedule and millions of dollars over budget. 

Quote attributable to AWU Victorian Branch Secretary, Ben Davis. 

“Yet again the state government turns a blind eye to the rogue acts of its contractors. On behalf of the taxpayers the state government talks a great game but then goes missing in action when it really counts.” 

Contact Ben Davis

E: [email protected]

P: 0418 556 359

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