Members holding the current pattern Industry EBA 2011-2015 are reminded that the Agreement does not provide for any wage increase from 1 March 2016 – employees covered by the Agreement continue to be entitled to receive the existing wage rates that took effect from 1 March 2015. The earliest an employer would be required to increase wage rates would be when a new EBA applying to that employer takes effect – which is seven days after the Agreement is approved by the Fair Work Commission.
In the interim, members should be alert to attempts by the CFMEU to ‘require’ them to pass on any increase on an ‘interim’ basis. Not only is there no requirement to do so, but employers entering into such an arrangement with the CFMEU may find themselves in breach of both the current, and proposed, Building Code.
Members should also be aware that the CFMEU held a meeting with a small number of hand-picked contractors on 26 February, without the involvement of Master Builders. During that meeting, those attending were provided with a draft CFMEU EBA. In a sign that the CFMEU wants to avoid any close scrutiny of its proposed EBA, it made each of the contractors attending sign a confidentiality agreement before they could read it.
It is understood that in addition to being non-compliant with the proposed federal code, the draft CFMEU EBA provides wage increases that are higher, and working conditions that are significantly more restrictive and less productive, than not only the current Industry EBA – but also a Victorian project Agreement the CFMEU agreed to in January. Should the CFMEU continue with its misguided approach, it is likely to put those who sign onto it at a significant competitive disadvantage to its competitors.
Last year, Master Builders released its report, Victorian Construction: Labour Costs and Productivity, prepared by Deloitte Access Economics, which examined and highlighted EBA wage growth and the detrimental effect of the unsustainable and excessive increases in construction EBA wages. Click here for the full report.
Master Builders will continue to keep members advised of developments, and will hold further IR Briefings on the EBA in the coming weeks. In the interim, members seeking further information are encouraged to contact the IR Department on (03) 9411 4560.