Cross bench senators from the Nick Xenophon Team and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation have betrayed workers in the construction industry by supporting the Australian Building and Construction Commission’s (ABCC) building code.

The code will remove many critical rights for workers, including the right to bargain for minimum apprentice positions in agreements and for priority to be given to local unemployed workers in new roles over temporary migrant workers. The ABCC and the Code attached to it, actually outlaws a union’s ability to negotiate for more apprentices in the industry.

Under the Code builders who’s EBAs included any of the following positive measures are unable to tender for Government work unless they become “code compliant”:

  • Limits on ordinary and overtime hours
  • Limits on use of labour hire and casual workers
  • Fixed rostered days off
  • Limits on number and use of overseas workers
  • Apprentice Ratios
  • Union representative structures and procedures.
  • Clauses that encourage the hiring of women and older workers.
  • Union stickers, posters and clothing

Quotes attributable to ACTU Assistant Secretary Scott Connolly:

“This will cost local jobs by allowing big construction companies to bring in more temporary workers through visa programs.”

“We need to change the rules for working people, who need more rights at work not fewer. Rights are being stripped from construction workers today by corporations which have been given too much power. These rights were hard-won and should never be taken away.”

The last time this code was enacted was under the Howard Government and we saw a spike in workplace deaths, which was only reversed when the code was scrapped by the Gillard Government.”

“This code strips rights from workers. It will increase risk for workers on construction sights. It will lead to more unnecessary deaths in an industry which already sees far too many working people killed.”

“Senators Pauline Hanson and Nick Xenophon claim to be friends of working people but they have betrayed construction workers with this vote and given in to the fanatically anti-worker Turnbull Government.”

“This is a vote against apprentices. This is a vote which will deepen the crisis in youth unemployment. This is a vote which will make construction sights even less safe than they already are under the ABCC.”

“Make no mistake; there is no difference between a Xenophon, Hanson or a Liberal/National Senator. They are voting in lock-step against rights for working people.”