As members will recall from previous advice, the CFMEU has been busy misleading contractors that as a result of a major contractor reaching agreement with the CFMEU on a new enterprise agreement, there is now ‘little excuse’ for any others who have yet to enjoy the ‘certainty’ of the CFMEU Pattern EBA.
The reality is that the agreement in question is not in the same terms as the CFMEU Pattern EBA.
Importantly, whilst the Agreement is not compliant with the proposed Building Code 2014, it does contain an Agreement termination clause. This provision would require the parties to apply to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to terminate the Agreement within seven days of the Building Code 2014 taking effect. Following which, the parties would negotiate a replacement Agreement that was compliant with Building Code 2014.
Members will note that this is a clause that the CFMEU in Victoria has hitherto refused to provide to other contractors – and is therefore not contained in the new CFMEU Pattern EBA.
Whilst there remain a number of questions to be answered about whether the provision will operate as intended, it does provide the contractor in question (and its employees) with a degree of certainty going forward in regard to their eligibility for future federally funded work.
Assuming the Agreement is approved by the FWC, the question arises as to why the CFMEU continues to refuse to provide a similar degree of certainty to other contractors (and their employees) that are also reliant on federally funded work. Particularly at a time where the CFMEU is seeking that a number of its members forfeit their wages by taking protected industrial action.
However, given that the Agreement termination clause is yet to be tested, Master Builders continues to advise members of the attendant risk of signing onto enterprise agreements such as the new CFMEU Pattern EBA, which are not compliant with Building Code 2014. This includes agreements containing such a termination clause.
Master Builders also reminds members holding the extant Industry EBA 2011-2015 (and who entered into it prior to 24 April 2014) that they remain compliant with both the current Building Code 2013 and the proposed Building Code 2014.