Government betrays construction workers under cover of coronavirus

Published: 17 Apr 2020


The CFMEU National Construction Division has slammed the Federal Government for using the coronavirus crisis to betray workers by giving employers new powers to cut wages and conditions with only 24-hours notice.

“Scott Morrison and Christian Porter have shown contempt for the workers who have continued building the nation and have failed the test of governing for all Australians, preferring to listen to the CEOs of big corporations,” said Dave Noonan, CFMEU National Construction Secretary.

“Construction workers around Australia have continued their work under difficult circumstances at a time when people have been forced out of their jobs and entire sectors have been shut down.”

“Construction unions and employers have worked together to keep the industry working safely and productively to keep people in jobs, to keep businesses afloat, and to maintain the role of construction as a powerhouse of the national economy at this critical time.”

“This move by the Government is a stunning betrayal of these efforts to work collectively in the national interest.”

“Under these new rules, workers’ wages and conditions can be changed with only 24-hours notice and will be set in concrete even after the Covid-19 crisis is over.”

“The Government’s announcement was made at the demand of the Business Council of Australia which represents the CEOs of the 100 biggest corporations in the country.”

“Their membership includes building giant, Cimic, who use their market power to screw small businesses in the construction industry.”

“Any construction worker who is told to vote to change their agreement should contact the union immediately.”

“We’ll continue to work cooperatively with employers who want to work with workers and unions to get through the current difficult period.”

“But any company which seeks confrontation instead of cooperation will find that construction workers still know how to defend their rights at work.”