WORKPLACE relations minister Bill Shorten says he takes ''at face value'' a denial by Grocon chief executive Daniel Grollo that there was any connection between his company and the Hells Angels.
The Age reported yesterday that protesters felt intimidated by the presence of a Hells Angel bikie at a picket line in Brisbane in mid-March. Two Grocon safety managers were photographed speaking to the bikie.
It came as two new breakouts of industrial unrest hit Grocon sites - the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Parkville, and in Footscray. Subcontractors were disrupted by blockades for part of the morning.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard yesterday weighed into the fortnight-long dispute, saying what was ''happening in the streets of Melbourne is grossly unacceptable''.
She called for both sides - Grocon and the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union - to ''calm down, settle down, and get this fixed''.
At issue is the appointment of health and safety representatives and the wearing of union apparel.
Opposition workplace relations spokesman Eric Abetz said Ms Gillard's comments showed her ''true colours'' that the employer would ''always be as much at fault no matter what the circumstances''.
Mr Shorten was asked about a photo that appeared on the front of The Age showing two senior Grocon safety managers, Peter Hewett and Daniel Van Camp, speaking to a Hells Angel bikie in mid-March. The two managers have also been central figures in the dispute that has shut down part of central Melbourne since August 22. ''I notice Mr Grollo has issued a strong denial of any connection with any motorcycle organisation. I take that denial at face value,'' Mr Shorten said.
Mr Grollo has said that, regardless of what the union does next, the company will seek to recoup its losses - expected to run into the millions - from the CFMEU.