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Scores of workers are set to be laid off from the West Gate Tunnel project after months of complications sparked by contaminated soil at the site.
Union delegates have met with the consortium running the project this morning and have been told as many as 150 staff may not be working on the site from January 24.
Digging is yet to start on the tunnel amid a dispute over how to deal with toxic soil with traces of asbestos and industrial chemical PFAS.
Staff were also told 24-hour operations would be altered into an 8-hour roster into the near future, according to sources close to the project.
Most of the workers likely to be sent home are understood to be tunnellers needed for the digging operation.
Tunnelling delays have meant the construction of tunnel boring machines was deliberately slowed to extend the timeline and give workers something to do, with some allocated to other parts of the project.
Some staff may could be moved on to other projects or rehired at a later date.
The cutting head of the boring machine to be used for West Gate Tunnel drilling. Picture: Jake NowakowskiTransport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said it was an “incredibly disappointing decision” by the joint venture.
“We expect that Transurban and its builder will make every effort to keep these workers on the West Gate Tunnel Project or redeploy them to one of the many other projects that CPB and John Holland are currently working on,” she said.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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