Construction Laws by sallyflower


									Abbott’s construction laws
to destroy
workers’ rights
The Howard Government wants to
introduce new laws for the Australian
construction industry. These laws are
the most serious attack on the rights of
building workers that we have ever
seen in this country.
For the first time, our industry will be
controlled by a special set of industrial
laws that are different to those for every
other industry.
These laws will rob construction work-
ers of fundamental rights as workers
and citizens.
They will load up the power of construc-
tion employers to a level unprecedented
in this democracy.
                                                 Company profits surge!
Why?                                             Boom delivers 79% rises
Contrary to what Tony Abbott would have          Have wages gone
us believe, Australian commercial and
engineering construction is not in crisis.       up 79%?
Australian Bureau of Statistics show that        Building companies are making hand-
labour productivity in those sectors is higher   over-fist profits off the back of the building
                                                 industry boom.
than the housing industry. And Aussie pro-
ductivity is better than on construction sites   Building workers generate those profits
in Germany, Japan and the US.                    through the work they do, but receive little
                                                 of the dividend.
In fact, the industry is going gangbusters,      According to the Australian Financial
with profits soaring and investment at           Review, prominent building companies
                                                 have returned annual profits up last year
record high levels.                              from between 22 to 79 per cent.
But Tony Abbott is happy to sacrifice the        Many building companies have reaped
industry to his mania of crushing unions.        huge windfalls, as property prices rise from
                                                 the time the projects were originally planned.
                                                 These bonus profits are conveniently for-
                                                 gotten by Liberal politicians and their
                                                 media mates when they go union bashing.
Abbott’s war aga

 Australian Building and                               Awards Stripped Bare
 Construction Commission                               Workers know that having a strong award sys-
 (ABCC)                                                tem protects their wages, conditions and rights
                                                       at work. But Tony Abbott’s new laws will strip
 — Abbott’s Big-Brother                                the construction award of protections and
                                                       allowances that CFMEU members have fought
 Construction Coppers                                  for and won over many years.
 This is Tony Abbott’s special industrial police
                                                       This is what we will lose:
 The boss of this outfit will be appointed by          ● the times of day that count as ordinary time or
 Abbott and will take directions from him about        overtime, or the time at which RDOs can be taken
 what to do.                                           ● clauses requiring an employer to record start
                                                       and finish times and hours of work.
 Teams of ‘Inspectors’ will roam around building
                                                       ● accident make-up pay.
 sites gathering evidence about workers and
 their activities. Inspectors will have greater        ● apprentice to trades ratios.
 rights to enter worksites than unions.                ● training/education
 Worst of all, this anti-union outfit is to be given   ● clauses specifying a particular super fund.
 wide powers over everyone working in the              ● any restrictions on part-time or casual work.
 industry.                                             ● transfers between locations
 They can force you to attend their office to          ● rights of unions to represent employees in
 answer questions and hand over documents.             disputes
 If you don’t you can be sent to jail for up           ● transfers from one type of employment to
 to 6 months.                                          another type of employment.
 The ‘Inspectors’ will be at the beck and call of
 bosses, who will have access to their own
 teams of Government-paid lawyers.

                                          Virtually all industrial
                                          action would be illegal.
 ainst unions
— what will it mean for you?
    No Industry Bargaining                                No Right to Strike
    Building workers have a long history of industry      Under Abbott’s plans, industrial action will be
    bargaining, and achieving gains for all workers       basically illegal.
    together. The Howard Government doesn’t
                                                          Industrial action that is permitted under the new
    believe you should have the right to bargain
                                                          laws is extremely limited. Fines for breaches of
    alongside your fellow workers in other compa-
                                                          these laws could reach up to $110,000 for
    nies in the industry.
                                                          unions, and $22,000 for individuals.
    ● Workers will not be allowed to make claims
                                                          Before strike action is taken, a secret ballot of
    for common wages or conditions across the
                                                          workers must be held. And that ballot must
    industry. The ABCC will be able to apply for
                                                          meet the requirements of 30 pages of legal
    court injunctions to stop this happening.
    ● No collective agreement can be reached
                                                          ● You have a maximum of 14 days to take
    unless all workers approve of a ‘bargaining
                                                          industrial action. After the 14th day, there
    period’ by secret ballot.
                                                          must be a cooling off period of 21 days.
    ● Project or site agreements will be effectively
                                                          ● Unions would have to give up to 7 days
                                                          notice to an employer before taking industrial
    All of this is designed to make sure you are forced   action, even after a ballot had been won
    to negotiate at the level where your bargaining       approving strike action.
    power is weakest.
                                                          ● Employers will gain the right to sue unions
                                                          and their officials for damages for industrial
    Union ‘Right’ of Entry                                action by workers.
    Union right of entry will be slashed by Abbott’s      ● Abbott’s new laws make it harder for workers
    proposed new laws. In order to access sites           to refuse to work in unsafe conditions, by plac-
    where union members are working, union officials      ing the burden of proving conditions are unsafe
    will have to:                                         on workers. They will also force workers to
                                                          accept other work the boss gives them if their
    ● give notice of entry to the site in writing to
                                                          ordinary work is unsafe, and make it practically
    the employer and the ABCC 24 hours before
                                                          impossible to ask the boss for pay where work
    entry, and
                                                          has stopped due to safety concerns.
    ●specify in writing to the employer and the
    ABCC the details of the suspected award breach.
    ●  If the union enters a site to encourage workers
    to join, they can only revisit that site six months
    after their initial visit.

    One construction worker is
    killed on the job per week ...
    But Abbott’s new laws make it harder for workers
    to refuse to work in unsafe conditions.
    Workers will have to prove conditions are
    They will also have to accept other work the boss gives them if their ordinary work is unsafe.
    Abbott’s new law make it practically impossible to ask the boss for pay where work has
    stopped due to safety concerns.
           Remember Howard’s promise?
❛ No Australian worker will be worse off.❜
  What about building workers?
                        Tony Abbott has said that the new building laws
                        are the thin end of the wedge.

                        If he can get them through for our industry,
                        he’d be ‘an idiot not to at least consider extend-
                        ing them to other industries,’ Abbott says.

                        The Senate should again reject the Howard
                        Government’s attempt to push through their
                        workplace agenda that would:

                        ●   Fundamentally attack the right to strike

                        ● Treat building workers as inferior – by giving
                        them fewer rights than other workers

                        ● Make it illegal for workers to campaign to improve industry

                        ● Make it impossible for a worker to have their union protect
                        them on site when they need them.

                                  The CFMEU is lobbying all relevant
                                  politicians about Abbott’s new laws .
                                  We are also making sure all other
                                  unions understand the attacks on our
                                  industry are an attack on their rights.

                                  What can you do?
                                  Talk to your workmates and union delegates about
                                  Abbott’s new laws.
                                  Hold a site meeting to discuss these issues and resolve to
 ❛ Tony Abbott’s new              support the union fight back.
 building ‘watchdog’ and
 harsh anti-union laws            Take extra copies of this leaflet and talk to your mates and
 will create conflict. They       local community about Abbott’s new laws for our industry.
 won’t benefit workers,           Lobby your local MP to resist these anti-union laws, which
 employers, consumers or          will be passed on to workers in other industries as well as
 the community❜ —                 construction if they succeed this time.
 John Sutton.
                                  Support your Union’s campaign for a FAIR GO for construction

                                 With rank and file and community support,
                                 the Abbott agenda can be defeated.
                                 For more information about the CFMEU campaign, contact your State Branch office
                                 or log on to
                                                   Authorised by John Sutton, National Secretary, Construction Division, CFMEU

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