Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced this morning that if re-elected he will tie pay rises for thousands of construction workers to the rate of increase in the National Minimum Wage.

Morrison’s new Greenfields Agreement policy would represent a pay cut for huge numbers of workers building projects for multi-national construction and mining companies, some of the most profitable companies operating in Australia.

Current agreements that have pay increases higher than the minimum wage increases that would have been undercut under Morrison’s new plan include:

  • Transco Power, Snowy Hydro 2.0, M4M Link tunnels, Rozelle Interchange and the Western Harbour Tunnel in NSW
  • Queens Wharf and Cross River Rail in Queensland
  • ION Electrical in South Australia
  • Metro Tunnel and Melbourne Major Roads in Victoria
  • 1 Esplanade Project and Metronet in WA

The national minimum wage has increased 2.71 per cent on average since 2015. Over the same timeframe Greenfields agreements have delivered an average of 3.1 per cent pay rises.

Once again the Prime Minister is making it clear that if re-elected he will continue the low wage growth and real pay cuts which workers have been suffering through under his Government for almost a decade.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

“The mining and construction companies that run these projects are some of the most profitable companies operating in Australia. The Prime Minister is once again proposing to cut the wages of working people while protecting the profits of big businesses.

“These projects have been plagued with serious mental health issues with suicides related to the stresses FIFO workers face due to unreasonable rosters, poor facilities and poor support.

“These agreements can also lock in high levels of casualisation, labour hire and the use of temporary visa workers. They remove any ability for workers to resolve and improve these issues, including negotiating pay increases that ensure workers are not suffering real wage cuts.”