Morrison's union bashing will hurt workers

Published: 19 Apr 2022

An under-pressure Scott Morrison is ramping up the ideological rhetoric against construction workers and their unions for his own political benefit, all while letting bosses get away with rorts, wage theft and poor safety that costs lives.

“It is a familiar union bashing refrain from the Morrison Government whose first instinct is to punish workers in service to big business and the property developer donors who dictate Coalition policy,” said Dave Noonan, CFMEU National Construction Secretary.

“Fining workers and unions will do nothing to improve safety in an industry where employers get away with killing workers, nor will it stop the wage theft and dodgy payment practices that are now rampant.”

“The Federal Government are not proposing massive fines for builders like Ganellan, whose safety breaches directly led to the death of an 18-year-old apprentice and the maiming of one of his workmates. The company ended up paying nothing in fines; their insurance picked up the tab.”

“The industry regulator the ABCC does nothing to address the big problems confronting the industry such as corporate rip offs when companies like Probuild, ABD, Pindar, Doric and Condev go broke owing tens of millions to workers and small business.”

“The Morrison Government promised action when the ABCC was reintroduced but has since refused to act and is sitting on the Murray report which they commissioned, and which recommends protecting small subbies through statutory trusts.”

“The ABCC turns a blind eye to employer rorts including wage theft, sham contracting and poor safety. It routinely refuses to act against employers who break the law, while relentlessly pursuing workers for trivial breaches of punitive industrial laws.”

“Construction workers and unions are already fined more because they work under harsher industrial laws than other Australians. These laws, applied only to construction workers, severely limit their right to strike even when work is unsafe, or they have not been paid.”

“Unions and employers worked together during Covid to keep the industry safe and open. Our industry needs cooperation like this and structural reform, not more union bashing by a Prime Minister who loves spinning and smearing but fails at hard work and leadership.”