Published date: 09/09/2019
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“The economy and the community cannot afford the economic vandalism that the CFMMEU is pursuing in through its proposed pattern agreement in New South Wales,” Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

“It is highly irresponsible of the CFMMEU to propose an agreement that will threaten infrastructure investment, discourage business investment and choke productivity at a time when the economy is experiencing low economic growth,” she said.

“Wages in our industry are hardly low by community standards or stagnant but the proposed CFMMEU agreement in NSW is beyond a joke. For example they want to ban concrete pours after 11.00am while claiming a ‘productivity allowance’,” Denita Wawn said.

“This is just another example of the CFMMEU treating the community with contempt. This union already bullies and intimidates small businesses on a daily basis construction sites, its officials remain in their positions of power and privilege regardless of how many laws they break and now they are seeking to bring in an agreement that will undermine the economy. The community cannot afford the CFMMEU,” Denita Wawn said.

The proposed pattern agreement means NSW construction workers could be paid more than $200,000 on top-end commercial projects, more than double the industry award.

Master Builders Association NSW director Brian Seidler said the CFMEU's proposed agreement represented a "tipping point" after years of employers accepting 5 per cent wage rises, now well above inflation at just 1.6 per cent.

"This is a real turning point," he said. "The mood of industry is this is just totally unworkable, particularly for projects already tendered and accepted."

MBA NSW analysis shows that based on a 56-hour week - a standard reference for medium to large commercial projects - a carpenter, or level 3 tradesperson, would receive $203,820 a year under the new agreement.

Restrictive CFMEU agreement conditions

The amount, which includes overtime, productivity and meal allowances, daily fares for travel and a 20-minute crib break, is double the industry award.

It marks a pay increase of more than $80,000 under CFMEU agreements since 2011 when carpenters received $122,524, or about 150 per cent of the award.

Read full Financial Review article on this issue here