CFMEU condemns Caesarstone benchtop campaign
The Construction Forestry Maritime Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) has condemned a multi-million dollar campaign by Caesarstone to stop high-silica benchtops from being banned.
Caesarstone, a global manufacturer of high silica-engineered stone, announced it will launch an advertising and lobbying campaign to protect the profit it generates from deadly benchtop products, according to CFMEU.
“This is the most blatantly evil corporate campaign I have ever seen. These scumbags are happy to sentence more Australians to death so that they can squeeze some extra profits from an easily replaceable construction material,” CFMEU national secretary Zach Smith says.
“We know hundreds of Australians have been served death sentence by cutting Caesarstone. Any person with a human heart who hears the stories of silicosis victims wants to get rid of Caesarstone right away. So what kind of person can hear victims’ stories and decide to respond with an ad campaign of lies? It’s monstrous.”
Caesarstone has expressed concern in the lead-up to a meeting with federal government minister Tony Burke and the state work health and safety ministers following a Safe Work Australia report that was handed to the government.
The meeting, to take place in October, is expected to determine the final direction for industries working with engineered stone, which is a significant part of many fabrication businesses. As a result, Caesarstone has written to the ministers to express concern on the subject matter and has encouraged all relative fabrication businesses to write to their respective members and advise in their own words:
- The investment you have made in their business.
- The investment they have made in creating a safe work environment.
- The changes they have made to facilitate a safe work environment.
- The number of people they employ directly and indirectly.
- The immediate impact a complete ban would have.
- The inability to find sufficient acceptable substitute products.
- The fact that many substitute products (e.g. granite, porcelain) contain silica with some containing silica levels higher than 40%. Clearly, a complete ban on engineered stone will not make the industry necessarily safer.
- Question what will then happen with bricks, concrete and porcelain that all contain high levels of silica.
- Question what will happen to the millions of installed and ordered engineered stone benchtops.
- The number of union members in their business.
Zach says there’s no use for a product that has been proven to take the lives of workers, and that Caesarstone should address an apology to the public.
“If Caesarstone’s Australian boss, David Cullen, can find any scrap of decency within himself he will resign and apologise for this campaign. In the meantime, I will be personally urging Tony Burke and every other Australian politician to ignore Cullen’s bullshit letters and to bar his slimy lobbyists from entering their offices.”