Union calls for urgent national meeting with Yuanda following asbestos exposure in Brisbane

Published: 12 Jul 2016

The CFMEU has issued a national alert on Yuanda and called for an urgent meeting with the building supply company, following the discovery of asbestos material being used on a site in the Brisbane CBD.

CFMEU National Secretary Michael O’Connor said it was totally unacceptable that workers have been exposed to the gasket material, imported from China, without any knowledge that it contained asbestos.

“We all know how serious the issue of exposure to asbestos is,” he said.

“This is a lethal product that has been proven to cause cancer. The use and importation of asbestos has been banned in this country since 2003 and the company has broken the law.

“We don’t muck around with this stuff and that’s why we have issued a national alert and are calling for Yuanda to meet with us and discuss all the projects around the country that they have supplied to or are supplying to and take appropriate action.”

Mr O’Connor said that the union has been calling for action from the Federal Government on the importation of building materials and nothing has happened.

“There are growing fears about the importation of unsafe and poisonous building materials that pose a risk not only to workers, but to the community.

“The Government has sat on their hands while people’s lives are being put at risk.”

It was the work of the CFMEU site delegate and safety representative that unearthed the asbestos after he investigated the material in the course of his duties.

Mr O’Connor is full of praise for the actions of the delegate.

“He did the right thing and immediately alerted all workers on site, the employer and the union safety officers. It shows the value of having a union trained delegate on site who is there to look out for the safety of workers,” he said.

Mr O’Connor said the system is failing.

“We want action from the government on dangerous imported materials.”

Yuanda is a large company that has supplied to major projects throughout Australia.

Mr O’Connor said the onus is now on Yuanda to prove that their products do not contain asbestos. 

“No employer can get away with this reckless, illegal behaviour. We need an urgent investigation into all Yuanda supplied jobs immediately. No job is worth the life of one single worker.”