MELBOURNE, AAP – Hundreds of construction workers have stormed their union’s headquarters in Melbourne, protesting against new mandatory vaccination rules for the building industry.
Protesters gathered outside the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union head office on Elizabeth street on Monday morning against having show proof of their vaccination to be allowed back on building sites.
The rally escalated when two union officials, including Victorian construction branch secretary John Sekta, came outside to speak to protesters.
Mr Setka was met with boos and insults from the crowd, while some protesters hurled bottles.
“Please calm down, can you at least give me the respect to talk. We’re not the enemy, I don’t know what you have heard,” he says to protesters, in a video posted to social media.
“I have never ever said I support mandatory vaccination.”
The protesters then called for the CFMEU leader to “stand up or stand down” and yelled “we are one”.
Once Mr Setka went back inside the building, the protesters smashed the glass door to the building.
Police are gathered around the protest, which was still going at about 12pm on Monday.
Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne the protests were “not smart, they are not safe”, during the daily coronavirus update.
“This industry is open at 25 per cent, we want to get to 50, being vaccinated is an incredibly important part of that,” he said.
“Protests don’t work. Getting vaccinated works, following the rules works, that’s how you stay open, that’s how you get open.”