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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Ups and Downs of Scaffolding










ABC press release.

Over the last few months, scaffolder and rigger John Tognolini and ABC Radio National's Radio-eye show have made what is probably the first radio documentary about scaffolding.

In The Up and Downs of the Scaff Game, Tognolini, Brent Clough and John Jacobs recreate the sound of 2000 tonnes of concrete and steel going down 180 feet. “Why did we do that?”, says Tognolini. “So that people nearly 30 years later would know about the Westgate Bridge disaster which killed over 30 construction workers in October 1970.”

Tognolini interviews two survivors of that tragedy, Pat Preston and Paddy Hanopy, and uses ABC Radio archives to describe what happened.

The show is also about the present day lives of scaffolders and riggers: working in chemical plants during shutdowns and putting up new buildings in central business districts during the booms and busts of the Australian economy.

October 1997

ABC Radio National

Sunday, January 11 1998 8.30PM Brent Clough: In a moment its tonight's feature The Ups and Downs of the Scaff Game, John Tognolini's insider account of work in the construction industry but first here's John in another role. When he's not working as a Scaffolder and Rigger, fighting Bush Fires as a Volunteer Firefighter or making radio programmes. John likes to phone Life Matters and talk to Geraldine Douge;

Geraldine Douge: Thank you for your call. John what are your thoughts on this big issue?

John: I've been out of work and I'm now working again as a Scaffolder and that's mainly due to the Olympics but all the people I work with, no matter what their job is in construction, we all know we're going to be thrown out of work come the year 2000.

Geraldine Douge: You just take that as a given?

John: Well in one sense it is just a fact of life. All the permanent infrastructure places like the railways and dockyards, they've all been downsized. There's no permeant infrastructure left and that is the other thing about this construction boom there is a real skill shortage of construction workers.

Geraldine Douge: Yes.

John: And that is something people have seen since about the late 1980's. I used to work in a dockyard that had about 400 apprentices doing different trades. The Cockatoo Island Dockyard.

Geraldine Douge: And that's where you were trained was it? John: Well, that's where I picked up my Scaffolding and Rigging tickets, yes. That's for someone who is a labourer [Ships' Painter and Docker] and that sort of thing is very rare because there isn't to many places for someone too pick up those skills. Like I said about the permanent infrastructure. The privatization of the power industry up around the mountains, around Lithgow. A lot of people are worried about what is going to happen? Are these places going to be shutdown so we can do maintenance work on them or are they going be like they are in Victoria completely worked into the ground. That effects local communities and families. Like when I got laid off from Cockatoo Dockyard two weeks before my daughter was born. It wasn't exactly a great introduction to parenthood.

Geraldine Douge: It sure isn't. Have you got a mortgage.

John: No, but I have been out of work and I've been lucky to get some. Blue collar men like me have suffered that massive change in the workforce. When I was a kid my old man had a job.

Geraldine Douge: What did he do by the way?

John: He did a lot of jobs. He finished up being a railway workshops labourer.

Geraldine Douge: And he always worked for the railways?

John: During the Depression he worked as a [sugar] cane cutter. He was lucky to have work. He always had work there in one way or another. But just looking at people from Cockatoo Island Dockyard, there are friends of mine, brilliant tradesmen and they haven't worked since 1989. I'm talking about Coppersmiths, Boilermakers, Electricians...

Geraldine Douge: That's a terrific call John thanks very much bye, bye. Bob Gregory [a Labour Market Academic from the Australian National University] is he part of the disappearing middle?

Bob Gregory: The male without much formal education who used to work in manufacturing or building or unskilled labouring or something like that. That's the group which is hardest hit in the labour market and that's really tough. They basically have to change their attitudes towards work and what sort of work they want. So they have to think more of developing their people skills. So they're better in service industries and realise it's Just going to be very hard to get jobs out in the open digging holes, recarrying pieces of equipment and that sort of thing.

Brent Clough: Life Matters back in October last year with Geraldine Douge with John Tognolini as telephone interviewee and tonight's feature is about those men who actually do lift things and move them from one place to another. Those ones who may have to learn new people skills when the construction boom goes bust in a few years. This is an insider's view of the construction site where workers share a language, a history, a sense of solidarity and conflict not nearly so evident in other work places. From the exteriors of multistorey office blocks and cavernous insides of chemical tanks, to flying trapezes at Circus OZ and stadium‑sized scaffolding for the Rolling Stones. John 'Togs' Tognolini talks to scaffolders and riggers and listens to their stories.

[The sound of a construction site.]

Togs: In front of us there is a ladder beam and what a ladder beam does it l takes that weight between those two other starnards and holds the structural integrity of that scaffold together. And there is braces that go across. See how one goes up and one goes down. That is for stability of the scaffold and there is also ties that tie the scaffold into the structure. It Is basically one big glorified Meccano set except a whole of a lot bigger. A lot more dangerous.

Scouse Billy: Watch your back. Watch your back. [The sound of scaffolding coming down. Then the sound recreation of a section of the Westgate Bridge collapsing in Melbourne, 2,000 tons of steel and concrete coming down 180 feeV60 meters.]

Journalist ABC Radio Archives 16/10/1970: A small group of mates of some of the dead men who had waited around hoping to help and hoping against hope for more rescues were upset at the decision to stop searching.

Worker: Well we can't do nothing they're all dead. So what are we going to do? So we just go to the funeral on bloody Monday. It was a fortnight, strike and the damn thing collapsed and now the damn things happened hasn't it? And it killed about twenty eight of our mates and they're all laying underneath that in the mud. That's what's happened pal. I just lost my best mate. He's under it. My mate's under the bastard. What is going to happen to his wife and three kids. Well this is the worst thing that has ever happened in this state. It could be you couldn't it? It could be me?

Togs: The Westgate Bridge came down in October 1970. It killed over thirty five construction workers. Some jobs are inherently dangerous. I'm John Tognolini and I'm a Scaffolder, Dogman and Rigger. This programme is about The Ups and Downs of the Scaffolding and Rigging Game.

Paddy Hanopy: Well the night before there was about ten, fourteen of us having a drink and playing pool and the next day it collapsed. Most of them lads got killed. It could have been about ten, fourteen people out of that I think there was only three of us left.

Another worker, ABC Radio archives: I seen the big buckle at the top and I never thought it would fall down and when I heard the bolts snap. A bit like machine gun fire. I just run away.

Paddy Hanopy: It was six of us in the lift. As we got in the lift and as soon we got to the ground, the bridge followed us down.

Pat Preston: One person landed almost in front of me. Another young guy, a young Apprentice Carpenter landed to the left of me in the swamp. There was quite a few workers up.

Shirleys Jacobs song:

It was going to be the gateway from the city to the west,

Going to make the super tollway that would stand through any test,

Paddy Hanopy: As you drive across you think about it. You think about your mates.

Now their shame will last forever you can feel like a knife,

Paddy Hanopy: I still think about it you know.

The first toll that was taken was the toll of human life,

ABC Radio Archives: During the night Mr John Holland the managing director the bridge construction firm John Holland Construction paid a brief visit to the site to inspect operations. What can you say about the tragedy itself? Just very briefly.

John Holland: I have nothing to say. Journalist ABC Archives: Nothing to say at all? When did you first hear about it?

John Holland: Twelve o'clock.

ABC Archives: How was it ? A phone call was it?

John Holland: I'm not prepared to discuss anything at this stage.

Togs: Did you loose friends that day?

Pat Preston: Many friends on that particular day and to go through the experience of viewing their bodies as they rayed trapped and crumbled.

Paul Murphy, ABC Radio Archives: Meanwhile a spokesman for Freeman, Fox and Partners the engineering firm that designed the bridge confirmed that his firm had designed not only the Westgate bridge but also one like it at Milford Haven in Wales which collapsed last June killing four men.

Togs: Like building companies Scaffolders and Riggers can be international nomads too.

Bob Mancor: I originally started as a Builders Labourer in 1972 in Britain when I left South Africa. I worked non‑union in Scotland and it was pretty rough.

Togs: How rough was it?

Bob Mancor: No perimeter handrails. I learned to dog a crane in London in 1972. On the first job I went into the centre of London with open hooks. I was just told can you sling that load and I lied and said I could because I wanted a job. That's the sort of attitude they had to safety and training and everything.

Stephen Long: In the old days you used to ride the hook. One dogman jump on the hook, hook up a load. Go up the top and ride the load and unhook it.

Well this day we are down the pub and one of the boys in the pub says, "The boss is going to sack me. I'm half an hour late. I've got get up the job half an hour before him." We said to him well just ride the hook up. Jump on the hook. You'll beat him up. He's got to wait for the lift. He said no worries. Well, he didn't know the whistle calls. We said we'll write them down on this bit of paper. He's gone out hopped on the hook and had a look at bit of paper on his hand. Two whistles for up. He's blown up. As the hook shot up, the bit of paper has shot out of his hand. He didn't know what to blow for stop or anything. He's gone up a hundred miles an hour.

Togs: Did he beat the boss though?

Stephen Long: He beat the boss mate. He beat the boss. He was there well before him. Only him and his cleaners knew how quick he went up.

Bob Mancor: I worked in Britain for three years and travailed around Europe and went to Canada and the States and come across the islands to Australia with twenty bucks and a rucksack. I was working as a Labourer most the time concreting, jack hammering, et cetera and decided I wanted to be a Scaffolder. I went to school and in those days you went to school properly for the six months, you know one night a week and then I started scaffolding. I worked over in the West. I worked at the North West at Karratha, worked in Canberra on the big gasworks in the centre of Canberra, the house of parliament. And I worked in Adelaide. Most of my working life has been in Melbourne and Geelong.

Togs: What was it like working in Canberra on Parliament House?

Bob Mancor: We had a fourteen week lockout or strike what ever you like

To put it because they had Doug Anthony the leader of the Country Party retired and he got a pay out of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and we didn't even have severance pay at that time. So we put in for

Severance pay and everyone just turned on us. Bob Hawke had just been made our fearless leader so he showed his true colours. I suppose over all the safety was good but for a job that cost a billion dollars, really the money wasn't very good at all. Severance pay and everyone just turned on us. Bob Hawke had just been made our fearless leader so he showed his true colours. I suppose over all the safety was good but for a job that cost a billion dollars, really the money wasn't very good at all.

1The sound construction in Sydney's Darling Harbour.

Togs: You'll see scaffolders climbing the steel, building the platforms for other workers to get the building up or bringing it down or to restore one.

Gary Smith: The reason we are building this particular scaffolds on the Darling Harbour Waterfront Project is basically to supply a catch scaffold for the formworkers so the scaffold is in position. When they bring their formwork frames up they can't fall off the side of the building. That's the basic procedure that we do here. At the moment we are in the process of topping off. So the first point of that is to base out from the ground level and the work your way through the floors. We are up to level one and you can see they pour the floor here yesterday and we are in the process now of topping the scaffold off.

[The sounds of scaffolding.]

Ian Iraira: When we are just building you just require a hammer. A necessity for building and stripping for knocking in the wedges. A key which is a necessity. You carry all the time and a shifter and your nips. But most blokes they carry over a full range of tools on their belts. I find if you have a full belt they get in the way. So when your building and erecting and dismantling you just use the tools you require.

Togs: OK, we are right in the heart of Sydney, Darling Harbour and it used to be one big railway yard and in the mid eighties became one massive building site and again with the boom on now. There is construction.

[Construction site sounds.]

Terry Riggs: The person I was talking about was Ray Goldstone and he came into the boom about 1986. I remember him well. I remember when he started. He had no scaffold experience at all but at the time they were just pulling people off the street, especially the large contract scaffold companies. It was just all stops out and get as much scaffold up as you can. Ray was a keen worker. He was a bit scared of heights and he didn't really have any aptitude for the job. He was nervous and because he was nervous of heights he wasn't able to work efficiently and safely. I worked with Ray quite a few times. Ray would normally be assigned some work on the ground or in a relatively safe position in the gang. Just as a leading hand I keep an eye on Ray really. Ray fell a hundred feet in Little Collins ad At‑‑‑‑ the J‑~aS aye. He fell off the scaffold and hit a hoarding and died. When I think about the boom period in Melbourne and all those people that were just seconded really to help the boom. I always think of Ray and just think Ray didn't deserve that and in a fairer world that wouldn't have happened.

[Construction site sounds.]

treet about three vears ant 14‑ and

[The sound construction in Sydney's Darling Harbour.]

Togs: You'll see scaffolders climbing the steel, building the platforms for other workers to get the building up or bringing it down or to restore one.

Gary Smith: The reason we are building this particular scaffolds on the Darling Harbour Waterfront Project is basically to supply a catch scaffold for the formworkers so the scaffold is in position. When they bring their formwork frames up they can't fall off the side of the building. That's the basic procedure that we do here. At the moment we are in the process of topping off. So the first point of that is to base out from the ground level and the work your way through the floors. We are up to level one and you can see they pour the floor here yesterday and we are in the process now of topping the scaffold off.

The sounds of scaffolding.]

Ian Iraira: When we are just building you just require a hammer. A necessity for building and stripping for knocking in the wedges. A key which is a necessity. You carry all the time and a shifter and your nips. But most blokes they carry over a full range of tools on their belts. I find if you have a full belt they get in the way. So when your building and erecting and dismantling you just use the tools you require.

Togs: OK, we are right in the heart of Sydney, Darling Harbour and it used to be one big railway yard and in the mid eighties became one massive building site and again with the boom on now. There is construction.

[Construction site sounds.]

Terry Riggs: The person I was talking about was Ray Goldstone and he came into the boom about 1986. I remember him well. I remember when he started. He had no scaffold experience at all but at the time they were just pulling people off the street, especially the large contract scaffold companies. It was just all stops out and get as much scaffold up as you can. Ray was a keen worker. He was a bit scared of heights and he didn't really have any aptitude for the job. He was nervous and because he was nervous of heights he wasn't able to work efficiently and safely. I worked with Ray quite a few times. Ray would normally be assigned some work on the ground or in a relatively safe position in the gang. Just as a leading hand I keep an eye on Ray really. Ray fell a hundred feet in Little Collins Street about three years ago. He fell off the scaffold and hit a hoarding and died. When I think about the boom period in Melbourne and all those people that were just seconded really to help the boom. I always think of Ray and just think Ray didn't deserve that and in a fairer world that wouldn't have happened.

[Construction site sounds.]

Pat Preston: Part of my job is to visit accident sites. It's not unusual to get a phone call, safety rep telling me that something happened. There's been an accident and you just grab hold of your bag and grab hold of your hard top and away you go. And on the way on the mobile phone you ring the Chaplain, ring the Union Solicitor and get to the scene of the accident and I guess just recently it has been a weekly occurrence.

Togs: What accidents have you seen involving Scaffolders or Riggers?

Pat Preston: A couple of months ago a young Apprentice came down on a scaffold which had been altered or changed by other trades people. Instead of calling in proper skilled Scaffolders other people decided to change the scaffold unfortunately this young fellow ended up copping it.

[The sound recreation of working inside a chemical tank / vessel.]

Togs: I'm in a small chemical tank what they call a vessel building a scaffold. I have full overalls on, gloves, goggles, a breathing respirator that makes me feel like a scuba diver. A brother and I are building a scaffold in here for some sort of inspection and we've got no idea what toxic cancer causing garbage has been in here and we're working in it.

Sean Roach song Chemical Workers:

A process man am I and I'm telling you no lies,

I've worked and breathed among the smoke,

That trails across the sky,

There's thunder all around me.

There's poison in the air.

There is the lousy smell that smacks of hell.

And dust all in me hair.

And it's go boys go.

They'll time your every breath

And every day your in this place your two days nearer dead.

But you go.

Brendan Murphy: On shutdowns because it is all go. Contractors were

expected to you know put themselves at risk. An unknown risk.

A lot of the time you wouldn't be aware of the chemicals you came into contact with. You weren't made aware. You were just expected to get in there. Your on big money. Well they claim it's big money. Get in there and do the job and stop asking questions.

There's overtime,

There's bonuses,

Opportunities galore.

All the young men like their money

And they all come back for more.

But soon your knocking on

And you look older than you should

For every bob made on this job

You play with sweat and blood

Bob Mancor: Well the talk in the pubs is that a lot of the chemical plants these days is getting more and more dangerous. And not just from the obvious falling and what have you. That sort of physical injury is through gasses escaping and proper procedure not being followed to close lines off.

And every day your in this place Your two days nearer dead But you go.

Jane Urbannick: More than two thousand five hundred people die each year because of exposure to hazardous chemicals in their workplaces.

Brain: lead, mercury and their compounds. Nasal passages nickel and chromium and compounds.

Lungs: ammonia, nitrogen, oxides, sulphur dioxide, asbestos, coal dusts.

Brendan Murphy: Just to put you in the picture with John Brenan. He was a twenty nine year old scaffolder married with three little kids all under the age of eight who was working on a shutdown prior to Christmas at a place called Chem Corp. He was working there for a period of two weeks. There was a bit of an incident there where he came into contact with some sort of gas. He felt ill. He went to their medical person on site, reported that he'd been exposed to some form of gas or chemical and he didn't feel to well. They thought it was just an ear infection and it wasn't anything to worry about. John wasn't satisfied so he left the site and went to his own GP who contacted Chem Corp with the question, you know what's he been exposed to? I need to know so I can treat him. They said it was just high pressure water, water vapour. John complained of headaches, continuing headaches and some tests were done over a period of two weeks. John couldn't work at the time because of the severity of the headaches and when the tests came back they found that John had the start of a brain tumour. Two and half months later John had died.

[Music from Maori Morning Pipes is played and fades into the title soundtrack of the film Once We Warriors by Tamah Renata.

Togs: A lot of Scaffolders and Riggers have got nicknames. I've got one that has stuck with me from the Maori brothers I worked with at Regal Scaffolding during a shutdown at one of ICI's chemical plants at Botany in Sydney. I was only there five minutes and I hear," Mr. Bean is working here." I can't help it if Rowan Atkinson looks like me. Lucky dude Rowan. There was another Scaffolder. He was called the Tea Leaf also known as the Ferret. He'd steal of his workmates and try and stand over blokes. He had a go at trying to kick me once. I caught his foot in mid air and was toying with him. He isn't big in size or intelligence or heart for that matter.

And some of the brothers are saying, "Smash him Mr.Bean. Smash the Motherfucker Mr.Bean." I put him on his arse and smiled at him and thought some people just can't help being an idiot.

[The sound of jack hammers.!

Bob Mancor: You know as we used to come into a gang there would be the experienced blokes. They mostly keep you on the ground for a while. If you were working high up. You be on the rope and wheel sending the gear up. Then you go up and you learn a bit and blokes would point you in the right direction. You always have an older bloke in the gang who be showing you how to do it and you be learning all the time. They keep going like this when the older blokes retire there is going to be an awful big gap in skills. Stephen Long: Old George he was a classic. He was an old Scotch bloke and in the summer you were working and handing gear up. He used to wear these great big baggy shorts but he never used to wear any Reg Grundies, any undies, you know and you be passing stuff up and you be looking up at his dirty freckle and his scallops hanging down in the wind. It use to just about make you spew.

[Rolling Stones performing Sympathy for the Devil.]

Togs: I did a scaffold for a concert once. The Building Bridges Concert at Bondi Pavilion in 1988. Tiny Good built his own company out of this sort of scaffolding work. Why big fellas get called Tiny in Australia is beyond me.

Mick Jagger: Please allow me to introduce myself

Tiny Good: One of the first jobs I worked on was the Rolling Stones which was probably still the largest concert production I have ever seen. We worked from nine pm. to nine am. and then another crew came in from nine am. to nine pm. and we came back and did another shift that was to finish the scaffold before the rest of the production moved in the lighting and sound and staging.

Togs: So what rigging did you actually do?

Tiny Good: I was one of about eight scaffolders that built all the steel.

Togs: There was only eight of you.

Tiny Good: There was only eight of us, yeah. There was about ninety guys who formed chains to get all the gear to us but there was only eight scaffolders on the whole job. We just kept putting our hand out and we got another piece of scaffolding and up we went. It was quite interesting because we had to work in the dark. the only lighting on the ground [Wimbledon Stadium London] the stadium light. We couldn't turn the stadium lights around and so we had to be fairly careful.

Tell me baby what is my name?

Tiny Good: We had a brand new guy that had never been in the theatre before. He worked on Rock and Roll and pub bands and that sort of thing and he was playing with counterweight system and he undid the brake and all the safety lines for it and the cradle run away and smashed his arm and he spent five months with a scaffold built around his wrist trying to pin his wrist back together.

Sympathy for the Devil

Tiny Good: I was just recently talking to a inspector about the new federal Health and Safety Occupational Workcover Licensing for Riggers. The entertainment industry at the moment doesn't have any special licensing for rigging or scaffolding so we have to conform to the building industry ,to him how to lobby people for entertainment rigging registered in it's own licence or trade. He said, "There is no way because you don't kill enough people."

[Industrial sound of scaffolding]

Darrayal John: Working in the circus is quite a different environment than working on a building site.

Togs: Darrayal John is a rigger for Circus Oz.

[In the rigging locker of Circus Oz]

Darrayal John: I guess primarily you know building sites are primarily male. There is a lot of women working in construction and that now but it tends to get a little chauvinistic. They're all used to cranes and things that way at least forty tonnes and I'm used to things that weigh eighty kilos and are probably more intelligent than yourself. I haven't really ever had the desire to go and work on a building site. That's not my scene but I know how they do it and I can dog a crane if I ever had to I would I guess.

[The music of the Circus Oz band.]

Darrayal John: We use like a mixture of industrial, I guess lifting equipment and climbing gear but half the Circus is in the air and the other half it is on the ground. So the half that is in the air is hung off something and it can be all manner of things from a swinging trapeze to a length of rope or maybe a counterweight system. A system of wires and pulleys.

One person going up and one person going down. We have poles, ladders, everything. Someone would say, "I want to hang really flat and play in the air and play a guitar while their doing their back somersault.

Togs: Or walk upside down.

Darrayal John: Yeah walk upside down on the roof or walk up the wall whatever so you try and figure out ways to do it.

[Industrial sound of a power station.]

Togs: I was working as a rigger at Mount Piper power station in the Bush and another Rigger from Rolls Royce asked me what work I had done before I came there. I said scaffolding in Sydney and it was strange he said, "That's Blackfellas work." I was a bit stunned then I said," Yeah, I've worked with Maoris and Aboriginal guys and their good Scaffolders and Riggers so what are you on about? He looked at me in amazement at what I said. There's no room for bigotry when you've got each others lives in your hands.

Stephen Long: We worked on a building site in St.Kilda Road. There was a big boom on in those days in St.Kilda Road and they had this peggie Old H. He was a top old bloke you know, old stiff and every morning we come into work and he picked up this trifecta and that quadrella and I start thinking to myself well shit if Old H has won all this money what's he working for five hundred dollars a week. So I thought Old H might tangle the truth a bit. Tell a few porkies. So anyway they used to send him over to pick the pays up because the head office was just up the road a bit. And I thought that was a bit of a punt on its own but anyway. Sure enough about four weeks later the boys haven't got their pay yet. It's knock off time and Longie what's going on with pays. I said Jesus I don't know I'll go down and see. And the boss said H hasn't come back with them yet. You know he might have had a heart attack. I said it's more likely he's done a runner. So anyway we went back towards the office to see if he dropped dead on the way or anything like that. Anyway we couldn't find him. They've had to get the money from the bank. Sure enough they've put out a search for him. Four days later they catch him in Adelaide with the old sun visor on over the head playing roulette and black jack with our pay packets in the Casino in Adelaide. So they finally caught up with Old H.

Bob Mancor: In the old days two, three, four weeks used to be the average between jobs and you half enjoyed it. A bit of a break and that as long as you had a bit of money in your kick. These days I only speak for myself and I guess if your a union activist it is obviously a bit harder but for everybody there's bigger breaks between jobs. And I'm talking two, three months very often between jobs. We work too many hours in book. We don't have any social life which is one thing I really dislike about our industry but I don't know how we are going to overcome it. This six day a week stuff is really not the way to go in life. But if you want to take home a half decent quid and if your the only breadwinner in the family and you've got two or three kids at home you've virtually got to work a Saturday to make a living. And because of that your personal life has to suffer. Your social life. You don't go and watch your kids play footy on a Saturday. You don't have the opportunity for all those things that a parent should be able to do and at the same time we've got well, if the truth be known well over a million out of work so it really doesn't make sense at all. But that's the way they play the game I suppose.

The sound of a construction site.]

Togs: The next time you look at a building site visualise the buildings all finished. The workers unemployed heaps of us have been there before the bigger the boom the bigger the bust.

The sound of a construction site.]

Brendan Murphy: What needs to happen is with younger generation of Scaffolders coming up, is a bit of a history of it because a lot of the younger blokes need a bit of an educating about where our conditions came from. Disappointingly sometimes I get the impression that they think that the employers just gave it to them but Scaffolders were used if you like as the shock troops in a lot of the blues in sixties, seventies and early eighties basically because of their discipline and I heard of a bloke McGiggian, Tony McGiggian his name was and he tried to form a Scaffolders union many years ago and he died in Williamstown. He died of a brain tumour and apparently he was so well respected that at his funeral there was construction workers lining each side of Williamstown Road. Basically he tried to get Scaffolders and Riggers union going and I would have loved to have seen that. We might not have had the numbers but certainly would have had the strength in unity.

Bob Mancor: The love of the industry is still there for most of us but a lot of people would never understand it because most of us don't make much money. We make a living I guess because it's a rough tough industry and because as we're talking about before the fatalities and that sort of stuff but you do tend to pull together and the ones who are no good. The ones who are selfish, self centred and have scabby tendencies they are certainly in the minority.

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