New workforce laws a ticking time bomb

The National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) has expressed its concern over the growing industrial disputation and interventionist nature of Fair Work Australia’s decisions.

The National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) has expressed its concern over the growing industrial disputation and interventionist nature of Fair Work Australia’s decisions.

NECA National chief executive officer, James Tinslay says that despite a better than expected overall unemployment rate, the building and construction industry remains fragile especially at the middle and top end.

“Confidence is on hold, and on the one hand you have Fair Work Australia throwing out flexible and genuine deals between employers and employees, and on the other, the Government refusing to intervene in damaging industrial action by unions in the West.

“The building and construction industry has a sorry record of industrial disputes and we are starting to see evidence of unions putting into practice the ‘payback time’ threat that arose out of the defeat of the Howard Government.

“Due to numerous factors, investment in new major commercial ‘high rise’ constructions is lagging future needs. Investors and financiers need confidence that major projects will be completed on time and on budget and will not be subject to industrial disputation whose real purpose is to leverage unreasonable demands off the exposed position of owners, developers, builders and subcontractors.”

Mr Tinslay points out that it took many years to move on from the numerous industrial disputes that characterised the 1980s and 1990s and warns that this decade could head down a similar path.

“Claims by the Maritime Union of Australia for a 30 percent wage increase over three years and a $2,800 a week construction allowance are indicators of a union out of control in an economically strategic area.

“The Union’s action also again emphasises the need to retain unchanged, the powers of the Australian Building and Construction Commission to deal with those who ignore the law.”