FWBC being used to attack rights of people outside the building industry

Tuesday 09th August 2016 0:00

The Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) today condemned the Fair Work Building Commission and WesTrac for using the Building Code as a Trojan Horse to attack the rights and conditions of workers outside the building industry.

AWU National Secretary Scott McDine today said WesTrac is blatantly misusing the Building Code to try and strip conditions from its existing enterprise agreements with people who are clearly not building and construction workers.

“WesTrac is using the Building Code as a justification to ignore the Fair Work Act’s enterprise consent requirements.  It’s trying to remove hard-fought conditions - such as providing labour hire employees with the same rates in-house employees, and requiring employers to consult with employees before making redundancies.

“WesTrac is clearly not a building company, and its workers are not builders. If WesTrac is allowed to get away with this blatant misuse of the Building Code, who knows what will happen next.

“We could see retail sales assistants from Bunnings classified as builders on the grounds that they sell building products. Or Four ’n Twenty workers classified as a builders because their pies are often eaten on building sites.  Or workers in office block considered builders on the grounds that they work in a building.

“It would almost be comical if it wasn’t such a serious attack on the rights of hard-working Australians.”

Mr McDine said he was also concerned that employers in the building industry are demanding suppliers to the building industry to have code-compliant agreements in place – even when it is clear that the suppliers do not perform any “building work”.

Mr McDine said this appears to be a breach of Section 13 of the Building Code (2012), which states:

A building contractor or building industry participant must not engage in activity that: (a) requires a subcontractor or supplier (through the tendering process or otherwise) to have particular workplace arrangements in place; or (b)attempts to unduly influence a subcontractor or supplier (through the tendering process or otherwise) to have particular workplace arrangements in place.

“The FWBC seems to be turning a blind eye to breaches of the Building Code, and allowing other elements of the Code to be applied to workers outside the construction industry.

“If this is allowed to happen, Employment Minister Michaelia Cash will need to explain to the people of Australia why the Federal Government’s long-standing war on the rights of building workers has been broadened into a war on everyone.”

“The Building Code is itself a blunt weapon which unfairly targets building workers. It’s time for it to be scrapped altogether.”

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