Electrical Trades Union issues ‘stop to work’ on RCR Tomlinson Victorian projects

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The troubles facing engineering and construction company RCR Tomlinson in its solar business are reportedly causing work on projects to come to a sudden halt. The union now claims that contractors are ceasing work, claiming payment arrears and raising doubts as to RCR’s solvency and ability to pay.

“I call on RCR Tomlinson’s Executives to demonstrate some accountability and personally guarantee the wages of the workers on their Victorian solar farms will be paid before their own salaries,” the Electrical Trades Union Secretary Troy Gray said in a statement today. “Contractors on RCR Tomlinson’s Victorian solar projects and their employees, who were already awaiting payments of arrears have lost confidence in RCR’s ability, or willingness, to pay.”

RCR hit difficulties earlier this year relating to a close to $60 million write down to its EPC activities on the Hayman and Daydream solar projects. Yesterday, it entered a second trading halt in a matter of months, pending an announcement as to its 2019 earnings.

An RCR spokesperson told pv magazine Australia that the halt was not specifically pertaining to solar projects, but related to “financing aspects and the current trading environment.”

The RCR spokesperson noted that while delayed grid connections and final AEMO acceptance were impacting solar projects it was involved with, this was not the primary cause of its financial woes.

The Electrical Trades Union says that while claims are being made that RCR’s solar projects are progressing as planned, workforce reductions on the site brings these claims into question.

“Original estimates by RCR were that they’d need approximately 100 electricians, working 12 hours a day, to complete the job [Wirsol’s Wemen Solar Farm] on time,” an ETU Victoria spokesperson said. “That was a couple of months ago, and they’ve been down below 50 workers – before [contractor] Penegelly appears to have pulled out.”

Planned completion of the 110 MW Wemen is scheduled for December 2019.

RCR did not immediately respond to requests for information and comment from pv magazine Australia regarding the union’s claims.