In regard to the Press Release issued by the ETU, it is important to get the full picture rather than the selective view that they have taken. What the ETU have failed to reveal is that Sunshine Sugar has systems in place which are compliant with the Act and the Code of Practice.
As with many of the buildings in Northern New South Wales, we acknowledge that we have asbestos sheeting in parts of the mills. We have a register of all asbestos-containing material and have formal procedures to deal with it.
Let’s deal with some facts;
Sunshine Sugar has three mills Condong, Harwood and Broadwater, which Unions have been visiting over the last month.
At Condong, the ETU have never raised any issues regarding Asbestos. Their staff have entered the site on the basis of a bullying claim – to which they found nothing. They then attempted to raise electrical issues, which our employees rejected.
At Harwood, the CFMEU inspected the site and in fact congratulated the team on our policies and management of asbestos.
As for the isolated issue at Broadwater – there was a small piece of sheeting that had been broken. The employee who noticed the issue did not follow correct procedures. If the correct procedures had been followed, action to manage the safety risk would have commenced immediately.
The issue was dealt with quickly upon the employee advising about the form he had filled out (whilst at an EBA negotiating team meeting). The area was barricaded off and a qualified contractor engaged to manage any exposure risk. We subsequently had testing undertaken, including airborne testing, which showed that there was no asbestos in the air. Zero. We have advised all employees of this.
Sunshine Sugar staff and management continue to be frustrated by the conduct of the ETU during their recent visits, which have been extremely aggressive and targeting not only management but also their own members. They are the ones that have effectively been bullying the employees. They have shown total disrespect to the electrical tradespeople on-site who actually challenged them on their statements. When you look at their record they gave no support or acknowledgement to the tremendous effort put in by the electrical team (and everyone else) in getting the Condong factory back up and running after a traumatic flood event, and certainly showed no interest for any individual employees plight after such a flood event.
The ETU have shown no support following the flood in getting the industry back on its feet. Instead, they are working with intent to stop the factory and have threatened to cause more disruption.
Their press release is simply incorrect.
Source: Sunshine Sugar