An investigation is underway after about 120 plasterers walked off the Royal Hobart Hospital redevelopment work site on Thursday.
Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union Tasmania secretary Kevin Harkins said the Chinese laborers on working visas, had not been paid for up to eight weeks of work.
Mr Harkins said some of the workers, employed by by Melbourne company Accuracy Interiors and under contract by John Holland-Fairbrother, could be owed as much as $12,000 each.
A spokeswoman for John Holland-Fairbrother said the company was aware of an issue “between one of our subcontractors and their workforce at our Royal Hobart Hospital site”.
“It is important that everyone who works on our projects is treated fairly and in line with their entitlements,” the spokeswoman said.
“We expect our subcontractors to fulfill their obligations to their employees and we are currently trying to verify the concerns raised.”
Health Minister Michael Ferguson described the reports as “very concerning”.
“I have spoken to both the project director and CEO of Fairbrother and reiterated that the project must proceed on time and on budget, with all employees being paid and employed appropriately,” he said.
“I have asked that the managing contractor explore all options to avoid delays and minimise disruption, including whether any local businesses are in a position to assist while the current situation is resolved.”
Project director Ben Moloney said an investigation was underway, but said he was not aware of any prior issues in relation to worker payments.