Union calls for commitments after RCR solar halt

RCR solar power

The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) has seized on reports that engineering and infrastructure company RCR Tomlinson has announced a second trading halt as evidence the company is in danger of going into receivership.

ETU QLD NT state secretary Peter Ong said ETU officials have been on some sites today and they will be back at RCR’s five Queensland sites, Horton, Emerald, Collinsville, Claremont and Darling Downs tomorrow to talk to workers who fear the worst.

“They have heard reports about what occurred in Victoria where more than 100 workers were sacked with an hours’ notice on an RCR site near Mildura late last month with many still awaiting outstanding payments,” Mr Ong said.

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“The workers rightly want commitments from the developers that they won’t face the same fate, they demand that they continue being paid wages and entitlements while the viability of RCR is decided.

“The turmoil in RCR is not limited to workers entitlements. There are also grave concerns for sub-contractors as well if the Mildura experience is anything to go by, in that scenario the local contractor has issued a stop to work until RCR’s future is decided.”  

Mr Ong reiterated his earlier concerns that the state Government had not adequately overseen this important industry.

“This latest outrageous private failure shows why the State Government needs to own, construct and manage our electricity generation assets” he said.

“ETU members call on the state government to guarantee that no further work in the renewables sector will go to RCR, they clearly can’t be trusted to deliver.”

Earlier this year RCR announced it had experienced a $57 million write-down on 150MW Daydream and the 50MW Hayman solar farms in North Queensland.

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RCR addressed this in a statement, saying, “The project has experienced significant cost overruns due to several compounding project-specific issues, including external delays and materially worse sub-surface ground conditions than were allowed for in the tender estimate, as well as adverse weather conditions.

“These project-specific issues required the company to continuously revise its execution methodologies to mitigate delays, leading to increases in subcontractor costs (both people and plant) and logistics cost overruns.”

According to the Australian Financial Review, RCR Tomlinson’s shares have been suspended from the Australian Securities Exchange because it was unable to update the market on its 2019 earnings outlook.

The company worked on the Gannawarra and Wemen solar farms in Victoria that have just reported reaching completion.

RCR Tomlinson has been contacted for comment.