Solar farm workers in limbo after contractors collapse
WORK has halted on at least five major Queensland solar projects after engineering group RCR Tomlinson was placed in administration.
Sites in Clermont and Emerald are among five in Queensland where workers have been stood down following the announcement on Tuesday that the company was in administration.
Electrical Trades Union Queensland and Northern Territory state secretary Peter Ong said workers employed by RCR Tomlinson and contractors employed by labour hire companies had been affected by the company's collapse.
"It's disappointing that people have let it go so far,” MrOng said.
"We've been aware of RCR's situation for a number of months.”
Mr Ong said as late as last week, ETU representatives were at sites, including Clermont and Emerald, trying to secure stability for the workers.
The union estimates there were 15 to 16 electricians working on the CQ projects, which were in the final stages of construction.
RCR Tomlinson was the contractor for these solar projects and Mr Ong said the union had been seeking guarantees from the developers with no success.
The union is now working to help workers get back on their feet ahead of Christmas.
"Our number one priority is to secure the lost wages and entitlements for employees,” Mr Ong said.
Mr Ong criticised the tendering process for these types of developments, saying it had encouraged a "race to the bottom” where companies continued to undercut each other to win a job at the cost of workers.
"All we're seeing is insecure work being delivered to the workers,” he said.
It is understood many of Queensland's solar projects are producing energy but are not yet complete.
RCR Tomlinson's trading problems have been compounded by a class action filed in New South Wales on behalf of investors.
The class action relates to a dramatic fall in the company's share prices.