Lend Lease deal a victory for all
Lend Lease workers have won an extraordinary victory with a project allowance set to be paid again for the first time in more than eight years.
CFMEU NSW State Secretary Brian Parker says the payment – secured as part of the recent enterprise agreement negotiations – is the first step in clawing back building workers’ conditions lost during the Howard years.
“This is a remarkable win and is due totally to the commitment of the Lend Lease workers who were prepared to stand up for what they wanted,” he says.
“It also sets a new standard for the industry that other major builders will have to follow.”
After more than six months of talks with Lend Lease failed to end the deadlock with the big builder, Lend Lease workers across Australia downed tools for eight days as part of “protected action” allowed under EA negotiations.
A national Lend Lease Agreement has now been reached that will now go out to a vote by members in two weeks. If endorsed by the membership, the Agreement will then be signed.
Parker says in NSW the workers were determined this was a fight they would win and the unity on building sites was inspiring for the CFMEU officers and Organisers.
He paid tribute to the Lend Lease delegates in particular Peter Genovese, Lawrence Kelly and Gordon Cameron who rallied the workers behind the protest.
“When it came to the crunch, the experience and long-term commitment of these delegates to the union and to their workmates shone through.
“Listening to Genovese rally the troops behind the protest was inspirational stuff.”
Parker says it was also great to see many young workers join the protest for what for most of them was their first taste of industrial action.
The CFMEU was gave its “wholehearted” thanks to the trade union movement for its support with Unions NSW joining the protest at Barangaroo.
In particular he singled out the Electrical Trades Union, Plumbers Union and AMWU for their support.
He also dismissed claims the industry could not afford the return of project allowances.
“Experience tells us that jobs with a project allowance are more likely to finish on time, under budget and productivity improves,” he says.
“For workers it delivers a sense of unity on site because it benefits all trades and all workers.”
The new deal is also a win for the nation with Lend Lease – one of the country’s biggest builders – also agreeing to employ more apprentices and ensuring sub-contractors employed on Lend Lease sites work under the same conditions and wages as company employees.
“This is critical in stopping the race to bottom in conditions caused by sham contracting that is wrecking our industry,” says Parker.
“Legitimate contractors and sub-contractors can now tender for jobs and know they aren’t going to be undercut by a dodgy builder who doesn’t pay superannuation, RDOs, holiday pay or workers compensation.
“The move on apprentices is about ensuring we have a skilled workforce for the future instead of relying on flying in migrant workers who have no idea about Australian safety standards and are too scared to argue when employers start ripping them off.”
Parker paid tribute to the efforts of CFMEU officers and the new CFMEU leadership team for the win.
“Ultimately the workers had to stand up – but when they did they had the full support of the union with its officers on site by 4am setting up the 5am breakfast and standing alongside our members at the protest throughout the day,” he says.
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