Workers risk fines now strike isn't protected

CURTIS Island protesters are risking $10,000 fines each as Bechtel and the CFMEU continue to fight an industrial battle in the courts as well as on the ground.

After Bechtel offered workers an extra $100 a day to accept a new agreement, workers continue to argue that the fight is not about the money - it's about the conditions.

Electronic voting on the agreement is expected to finish at midnight tonight, with the results available on Friday set to determine what actions occur next.

The Fair Work Commission granted an order at 4pm on Wednesday that industrial action from 12.01am Thursday was no longer protected for the CFMEU and its members.

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Previous orders haven't deterred the protestors, who are still striking at Port Curtis and Fisherman's Landing despite many being served court orders on Wednesday, and it being a major changeover day for workers.

One worker, John, said he had worked in Queensland for 10 years and never had a job on a 4/1 roster or with motelling, "and I've worked eight jobs in central Queensland in 10 years".

"It's the fact you have to spend four weeks away from the family 12 times a year," he said.

The Rockhampton father-of-two said he worked on the island for a year as a fly-in fly-out but became a local as he "couldn't handle" the motelling, where workers get given a different room each time they arrive back on site.

"There's a lot of big jobs coming up that they're sure to tender and this will set a bad precedent (if the agreement is voted up)," he said.

But Bechtel Gladstone general manager Kevin Berg said it was up to employees to make up their own minds and vote by secret ballot.

You can read the order from the Federal Court of Australia here.

THE STORY SO FAR

  • Bechtel ups financial contributions in new agreement
  • Workers want better conditions
  • Voting finishes midnight Thursday
  • Fair Work Commission rules previously protected protest action from today illegal