The Director of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate (FWBC), Mr Nigel Hadgkiss, has put employers on notice, accusing head contractors of enforcing a “closed shop” by pressuring subcontractors to have enterprise agreements with the CFMEU.
Mr Hadgkiss was recently quoted in the Australian Financial Review, stating:
“Our evidence suggests contractors take this action knowing they could be breaching the Fair Work Act, yet the accept the risk because they would rather expose themselves to potential action in court than cop the brunt of the CFMEU”
“What people don’t see is the human cost of this behaviour. Sadly, we’ve had cases where families have put everything on the line and mortgaged their home to invest in a business, only to be shut out because head contractors allow the union to dictate who can and can’t work in the industry”.
“It’s not only unlawful, it can lead companies going bust and forcing their workers out of a job”.
Three of the thirteen court actions filed by FWBC this year are against head contractors – each of which involve allegations that the head contractor had booted subcontractors off site to appease the CFMEU. Members should note that the conduct of head contractors is likely to become a key area of focus for the industry regulator going forward, particularly once any successor to the current pattern industry EBA has been finalised.
Master Builders strongly supports FWBC’s efforts to enforce the rule of law in the building and construction industry.
Members seeking further information should contact the IR Department on (03) 9411 4560.