Grocon: A Dispute About Safety

Australian Workers Film Guide


Produced by the CFMEU, this short documentary recounts the union’s 2012 clash with the Grocon construction company and its CEO Daniel Grocon over safety concerns. The film contains extensive footage of protests and violent skirmishes with Victoria Police on the picket line. The union’s concerns about neglected safety was crystalised by the collapse of a wall on a Melbourne Grocon site in 2012, which claimed the lives of three members of the public.

Prominent CFMEU leader John Setka explains how his father worked on the Westgate Bridge, which collapsed in 1970 killing 36 men. This workplace catastrophe shaped his values and made him passionate about the issue of health and safety. Setka highlights the devastating consequences of workplace fatalities and the impact on families.

Union leaders and workers, some incognito, talk about a complete disregard for safety and describe a management style that is hostile and uncompromising. One union official has dealt with a dozen fatalities in 15 years. The union claims that known thugs have been hired to oversee safety. Union officials were shocked by the ferocity of the police response, with over 1000 police deployed including riot police with horses, batons and capsicum spray.

Special Notes/Achievements

Produced by the CFMEU.

Author: J Bird, 2023

Duration: 15 mins 23 secs

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