Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has claimed victory following last Saturday’s federal election – and has reiterated his intention to call a joint sitting of Parliament to pass the two industrial relations bills which triggered the double dissolution. Therefore, whilst it may be some time until the fate of the proposed Building Code 2014 is known, in the interim one thing remains certain – those members wanting to be in a position to tender for future federally funded work should not sign the CFMEU/Breakaway Group deal unless or until the CFMEU agrees to amend it to be fully compliant with the proposed Building Code 2014.
Members should note that the current position of the CFMEU in Victoria is that it will not amend its EBA for compliance with the proposed Building Code 2014. This is at odds with the approach taken in other states, where the CFMEU has at least committed to varying their EBAs for code compliance to enable contractors to tender for future federally funded work. It is also at odds with the fact that the CFMEU in Victoria entered into a Building Code 2014 compliant EBA for the CityLink Tulla Widening Project. Master Builders recently received an interim assessment from the Department of Employment on the CFMEU/Breakaway Group deal that found a large number of clauses that are inconsistent with the proposed Building Code 2014. A copy of the assessment can be viewed here.
By putting its misguided ideology ahead of the best interests of its membership, the current position taken by the CFMEU in Victoria serves only to punish those contractors (and their employees) who enter into the CFMEU/Breakaway deal, by putting future work at risk.
Master Builders 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. Whilst such members are under no obligation to pass on any wage increase from 1 July 2016, they are free to choose to pass on a pay increase should they wish – provided that this is a decision they make voluntarily, and independently of any third party.
Given the current uncertainty, Master Builders continues to advise members against initiating bargaining and reminds members that they should not provide a Notice of Employee Representational Rights (NERR) to their employees until a decision to commence bargaining has occurred. Members should note that even where the employer has provided an NERR, there is no obligation to agree to the terms of the CFMEU/Breakaway deal in its current form. Provision of an NERR simply means that you have agreed to commence negotiations, not that you have reached agreement.
Master Builders has developed an EBA Template for members interested in a code compliant and more sustainable alternative to the CFMEU/Breakaway Group deal. Whilst the Template is not agreed with the CFMEU, it serves as an important resource for those who may have commenced negotiations, but are not in a position to sign the CFMEU/Breakaway deal. Master Builders reminds members who commence a formal bargaining process with the CFMEU, that they are able to appoint Master Builders as their bargaining representative.
Members seeking further information or assistance should contact the IR Department on (03) 9411 4560.