Lightening strike hits Olympic flame

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The Independent Online

An industrial dispute on Wednesday stopped construction work on the cauldron which will hold the Olympic flame at this year's Sydney Games.

Brian Fitzpatrick, organizer for the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), said 15 construction and metal workers put down their tools after claiming scaffolding and rigging around the cauldron in the Olympic stadium was unsafe.

Fitzpatrick said WorkCover, a New South Wales state government safety authority, been called in to investigate and workers would remain off the job until the site was declared safe.

But he said he was not aware if the workers were concerned about the design of the cauldron, which is being kept shrouded from public view.

"I think the workers' concerns are more to do with work practices on the site," he said.

The incident comes three weeks after workers at the Olympic swimming venue imposed bans, claiming part of the site was a death trap.

About 100 builders walked off the job at the Sydney International Aquatic Center, complaining that sections of a 12,500-seat extension were not sound and should be redesigned.

Urgent remedial work was ordered to the venue after an independent engineer's report confirmed parts of it were unsafe. The report made six recommendations for immediate work, including temporary bracing.