ACTU Secretary, Sally McManus says that the union movement will not support any extension of greenfield agreements in the absence of additional safeguards for workers.
In comments to the National Press Club Sally McManus said that the union movement would consider extensions to agreements but only if fairness and protections were present.
McManus today made clear that the unions put this proposal in the working groups, but that the mining and resource employer rejected what was a reasonable and sensible offer, and pushed for longer less fair agreements that would cut workers out of bargaining for an unacceptable period.
As noted by ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:
“In the IR working groups we proposed a new form of greenfield agreements exclusively for large resource construction projects of over 5 billion which could be extended for an additional year as long as workers had fair means of resolving disputes when working on these construction sites, with a number of additional safeguards including the right to represented by a trade union.
“These construction projects rely on FIFO workforces who both live and work on site. They have been plagued with problems related to mental health with a high number of suicides. If there is no means for workers on these sites to address problems as they arise, and they are denied the right all other workers have to renegotiate their working conditions, they must as a minimum have access to the Fair Work Commission to resolve issues so we do not see an intensification of the pre-exiting issues.
“Unfortunately the mining and resource employers rejected this reasonable and sensible offer and pushed for agreements being doubled in length, expanding the scope so even construction sites in cities are covered and locking workers out of any fair means to resolving issues as they arise.”