The Victorian CFMEU appears to remain captive to the ideological crusade being led by CFMEU National Secretary Dave Noonan and Queensland Secretary Michael Ravbar. Should the union’s attempt to have the Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016 (Building Code 2016) disallowed in the Senate this week fail as expected, the Victorian CFMEU will have a very small window of opportunity to look after the best interests of its members employed by contractors who signed the non-compliant CFMEU Pattern EBA 2016-2018. As it currently stands, these contractors will be ineligible to tender or be awarded federally funded work from 1 September 2017, which it turn will have clear ramifications for the continuing employment prospects of employees.
Master Builders has ensured that the Victorian CFMEU is aware of the minor changes required to make their EBA code-compliant, and that this could be reached in a timely manner with a pragmatic approach by the key stakeholders involved. This is vastly different to the situation in Queensland, where the CFMEU Pattern EBA is far from compliant. The additional benefit of such an approach in Victoria is that it would allow the parties to focus on other pressing matters, such as the potential removal of Incolink’s current FBT-exempt status from 1 July 2018.
Master Builders remains optimistic that a pragmatic solution will be finalised by the key stakeholders for an agreed code-compliant variation to the CFMEU Pattern EBA 2016-2018. However, even if such a variation is agreed, there is no guarantee that it will be done in sufficient time to allow affected contractors to have formally varied their Agreements by 1 September 2017. This will put pressure on contractors reliant on federally funded work to pursue other options to ensure compliance.
In the event the Victorian CFMEU ultimately elects not to be part of a code compliant solution, the current leadership of the CFMEU is likely to accomplish a feat that most have long thought impossible in the Victorian commercial construction industry – the death of the ‘Industry Pattern’ and the end of the so-called ‘level playing field’.
Members seeking further information are encouraged to contact the IR Department on (03) 9411 4560.