Snowy Hydro workers threaten walk-off over unsafe work conditions


Monday, 06 March, 2023

Snowy Hydro workers threaten walk-off over unsafe work conditions

The Australian Workers’ Union has warned that workers on the Snowy Hydro 2.0 project may have to walk off the job to protect their safety and wellbeing due to unhygienic food being served onsite. Workers have taken photos of food “riddled” with maggots being served onsite and other meals that appear inedible. AWU NSW Secretary Tony Callinan said the food being served is indicative of a broader management problem onsite, adding that the site has an “abysmal” safety record.

“Supermax prisoners are served better food than the workers building Snowy Hydro 2.0. You have workers living, literally locked up in a camp with limited recreational facilities in the middle of nowhere, being fed maggot-infested food. It’s an absolute pressure cooker right now. I know workers are considering downing tools if things don’t improve. I know many of our members are living off canned tuna and two-minute noodles, because they know it’s unsafe to eat what’s served up by the caterers,” Callinan said.

Callinan added that the problem is the joint venture that was awarded the contract is “pinching every penny” to improve its profit margin, by cutting corners on food and safety.

“Every week we’re getting reports of serious safety issues on the site including a number of near-death incidents. Blokes getting run over by vehicles backing up because they’re relying on hand signals instead of radio. Equipment that’s been tagged as unsafe having that tag removed by supervisors to speed things up. Industrial drills almost impaling people because proper communication and supervision isn’t in place. The whole site’s a tragedy waiting happen, it’s a miracle that no one has been killed already. This project is unsustainable like this. The government needs to intervene and crack the whip to make sure people aren’t hurt or killed,” Callinan said.

Top image caption: Maggot-infested steak provided for morning tea at Lob’s Hole worksite Saturday, 25 February. Image credit: Australian Workers’ Union.

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