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CFMEU boss slams ‘fake tradies’ at Melbourne protest which shut down construction industry

A powerful construction union boss has slammed ‘fake tradies’ and ‘man-baby Nazis’ who sparked violent and ugly scenes outside union headquarters which has shut down the entire industry.

Hundreds of workers in hi-vis vests walked off the job on Monday and gathered outside the CFMEU head office in Melbourne to protest against mandatory Covid-19 vaccine requirements which come into effect later this week. 

The gathering turned violent as demonstrators clashed with high-profile CFMEU boss John Setka and other union officials, hurling abuse and projectiles and smashing glass windows. 

The ugly scenes prompted Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to shut down the state’s $22billion industry for 14 days.

Mr Setka is furious 300,000 construction staff statewide have lost work because of the actions of ‘fake tradies’ and ‘neo Nazis’ at the protest, describing them as ‘scum of the earth, drunken and un-Australian morons’.

A protest turned violent outside CFMEU headquarters in Melbourne, prompting the state government to shut down the entire  industry

‘There were a few of anti-vaxxer activists there who are not union members or are from our industry, they’re the ones you see at all the protests,’ Mr Setka told the Today show on Tuesday.

‘It just got out of control. Then they were consuming a whole heap of alcohol. Thanks to these morons, 300,000 Victorians are sitting at home for at least the next couple of weeks, could drag out even longer.’

Mr Setka described how he went out to address the hostile crowd but eventually forced to retreat back inside as protestors turned  on him.

‘We went out there to  see what it was all about,’ he said.

‘There was a sprinkling of construction workers there of our members and the rest were just people, I wouldn’t even know who they are. 

‘You couldn’t even talk. We tried to keep it all calm, and it just got out of chrome. People started throwing bottles. Some of them were fighting amongst themselves. 

‘You know, once they started throwing the bottles, that was it we just said this is too dangerous, let’s move back in. It just got out of control from there.’

CFMEU boss John Setka (pictured) slammed the actions of fake tradies and neo Nazis

CFMEU boss John Setka (pictured) slammed the actions of fake tradies and neo Nazis

Mr Setka said he was blindsided by the state government’s snap decision to shut down the construction industry statewide. 

It wasn’t like there was full-on consultation us with,’ he said.

‘I have never spoken to Daniel Andrews to be honest. I have never met him and never spoken to him. I’ve had no discussions with Daniel Andrews ever.’

He doesn’t believe the shutdown was payback for recent criticism of the state government’s public health orders and agreed it had no other choice but to shut down the industry. 

‘I don’t think they had much of an alternative but to do what they’ve done,’ Mr Setka said.

‘It’s unfortunate, because families rely on a pay packet every week, and the problem with it is, I think it’s going to go longer than two weeks.’

‘They can thank all the drunk morons yesterday. This lays squarely on their shoulders.’

Mr Setka fears the construction industry will be shut down for longer than two weeks as a result of Monday's ugly scenes outside CFMEU headquarters

Mr Setka fears the construction industry will be shut down for longer than two weeks as a result of Monday’s ugly scenes outside CFMEU headquarters

Ex-unionist and federal MP Bill Shorten also slammed the ‘fake tradies’ and ‘man-baby Nazis’ earlier in the program.

‘Some of those people in the crowd were construction workers, but others, I’m reliably informed, were fake tradies,’ he said.

‘They’d been down to the Reject Shop and got themselves a $2 hi-viz hoodie so they could pretend they were construction.’   

On Monday night, the state government shut down the industry for two weeks in metropolitan Melbourne, City of Ballarat, City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire and Mitchell Shire.

All worksites will need to demonstrate compliance with health directions prior to reopening.

This includes a requirement for workers to show evidence of having had at least one dose of a vaccine before they return to work on October 5.

Many of those who attended Monday's protest have been described as 'fake tradies' and 'man-baby Nazis' (protestor pictured)

Many of those who attended Monday’s protest have been described as ‘fake tradies’ and ‘man-baby Nazis’ (protestor pictured)

Mr Shorten defended the CFMEU saying the construction union was being responsible and encouraging people to get vaccinated.

‘There is a network of hard-right man-baby Nazis, just people who just want to cause trouble – these man-babies, they want to complain about vaccinations,’ he said.

‘They deserve to get the full force of everything that’s coming their way.’

It’s believed the protesters plan to gather again outside the CFMEU from 10am on Tuesday.

The Victorian branch of CFMEU said it had always supported freedom of choice regarding vaccination.

‘We are not going to be intimidated by outside extremists attempting to intimidate the union, by spreading misinformation and lies about the union’s position,’ it said in a statement on Monday.