Members continue to be warned of the CFMEU’s tactic of misleading employers into providing employees with a Notice of Employee Representational Rights (NERR) as part of its strategy to initiate a process that could lead to protected industrial action. Members therefore continue to be advised not to provide a NERR to employees unless or until a decision is made to commence bargaining – and note that a NERR is only valid when issued by the employer.
Master Builders understands that CFMEU shop stewards have now resorted to threatening contractors that they will be prevented from working on-site if they don’t provide employees with a NERR by tomorrow. This is unlawful. FWBC have been made aware that this is occurring on a number of CBD projects being undertaken by Brookfield Multiplex and other members of the breakaway group. It is worth noting that employers (e.g. a principal contractor) may be held vicariously liable for the conduct of their employees (e.g. a shop steward).
Members continue to be reminded that under the Fair Work Act 2009, it is unlawful for a head contractor to discriminate against a subcontractor for having (or proposing to have), or not having (or proposing not to have), a particular EBA. It is also unlawful for a person to attempt to take any action against another person with the intent to coerce that person, or a third party, into engaging, or not engaging, a particular subcontractor. FWBC has provided an E-Alert on this issue.
Master Builders also advised members that signing onto the deal reached between the breakaway group and the CFMEU will in addition to being unsustainable, jeopardise their ability to tender for future federally funded work. FWBC is yet to confirm the compliance of the deal with the current Building Code 2013 (relevant for agreements made from 18 May 2016); with the deal already known to be non-compliant with the proposed Building Code 2014 (the future of which will be determined in a matter of weeks by the 2 July federal election).
Master Builders has finalised a draft template to provide members who are considering entering into genuine EBA negotiations with the CFMEU with a sustainable, code compliant alternative for bargaining. The template has been assessed by FWBC as compliant with the current Building Code 2013; and we are awaiting confirmation from the Department of Employment with regard to the proposed Building Code 2014. Master Builders also continues to assist the growing number of members negotiating genuine enterprise-level agreements with their employees, without the involvement of the CFMEU.
Master Builders encourages members seeking further information to contact FWBC on 1800 003 338 and/or the IR Department on (03) 9411 4560.