Union says 230 solar farm builders sacked

The Gangarri solar farm project is expected to generate enough energy to power 50,000 homes.
The Gangarri solar farm project is expected to generate enough energy to power 50,000 homes.

More than 200 workers at a Queensland solar farm project have been sacked by text message, a unions says.

The Electrical Trade Union says 230 casual electricians and mechanical fitters, who had been working shifts up to 60 hours per week at the Gangarri project near Wandoan, were fired by text message.

ETU state secretary Peter Ong says the workers were sacked as a result of a contractual disagreement between Indian multinational Sterling & Wilson and local firm Davis Contracting.

"They and their families face an uncertain future," he said in a statement on Thursday.

"It's brutal and it's disgusting."

Comment had been sought from both companies involved.

Mr Ong said the fact the workers had been sacked in such an arbitrary way showed the industrial relations system was broken.

He warned that the federal government's proposed Omnibus Bill would further erode workers' rights.

"Big businesses like Sterling & Wilson have exploited loopholes in the Fair Work legislation, where they can let workers go on a whim," he said.

"They don't care how the workers are treated. It's all about getting the biggest bang for their buck.

"And this is exactly what the LNP wanted. They designed the legislation to ensure maximum flexibility at the expense of job security and this has resulted in these kinds of business models of exploitation."

The Gangarri project is a 120 megawatt solar farm owned by Shell Australia which will generate enough energy to power 50,000 homes.

Shell, which is not involved in the labour dispute, expects the project to be completed by early this year, but it's reportedly behind schedule.

Australian Associated Press