Mr Combet was speaking after a secret ballot of Grocon construction employees in Melbourne today resulted in a 74% “no” vote against the company’s proposal for a non-union agreement bypassing the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.
“Grocon workers have spoken and Grocon should listen. The CFMEU is the proper representative organisation of the employees and the company should negotiate with the union, in the same way as every other major construction company in Victoria has done.
“Today’s vote is the third time Grocon workers have had to indicate their support for a new union agreement. How many times do they have to say it before Grocon listens?
“Other construction companies in Victoria have reached agreement with the CFMEU without any industrial disputation at all,” Mr Combet said.
”With strong union involvement, productivity in Australia’s construction industry is the second-highest in the world according to a number of international studies.
“If Grocon wants to talk about flexibilities, then it should stop playing games and get back to the negotiating table.”
Mr Combet also called on Federal Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott to accept the democratic vote of the Grocon employees and to stop interfering in the industry.