Construction workers must be protected from Covid-19 shocks

Published: 12 Mar 2020

The CFMEU National Construction division is warning that any shocks to the construction industry caused by coronavirus will have a significant impact on workers and the economy and is calling for better wage protection for workers and strong health and safety measures on construction sites.

“The construction industry is a critical backbone of the Australian economy and if our industry is hit by Covid-19 related shocks the whole economy will suffer,said Dave Noonan, CFMEU National Construction Secretary.

Construction accounts for around 10 per cent of Australias GDP and workers in our industry make up around 9 per cent of the total Australian workforce.

Many workers in the industry are asking what their rights are and where they should turn for accurate information during this pandemic.

Our advice is that any member directed to leave work or isolate from work should immediately contact the union. Do not accept being unilaterally stood down or not paid by your employer.

The union is demanding that the Covid-19 virus be treated as a health and safety issue and consultation occur with OH&S reps and the union about preventative measures on sites.

The CFMEU supports the ACTU call for two-weeks pay for affected workers. The Governments proposal for affected workers to be able to access Newstart is entirely inadequate.

The union will continue to monitor situations where supply chain delays may cause delays and impact employment at the workplace.

All construction workers are urged to observe the health and hygiene measures as advised by medical authorities.

The Australian construction industry is made up from workers from all over the world. The union rejects any racist behaviour in the workplace.

The Covid-19 pandemic presents challenges to our entire community and the construction industry as a whole needs to work together to ensure workers and their jobs are protected so that construction remains a strong driver of the Australian economy during this crisis.

Media contact: John Kelly 0407 071 703