Jobkeeper package must be expanded to cover construction workers

The Federal Government’s jobkeeper package will bring benefits to many workers across Australia, but has serious deficiencies for the construction industry – according to the Electrical Trades Union (ETU).

ETU National Secretary Allen Hicks today said electrical workers were concerned the package did not account for the stop-start nature of project-based work.

“While we welcome the Federal Government finally heeding calls from Australian unions for a wage subsidy, the package announced yesterday won’t cover a significant number of construction workers,” Mr Hicks said.

“The construction industry is project-based and highly contingent. That means many workers are effectively starting new jobs several times a year.

“The nature of construction work needs to be recognised in the design of the package so that all workers can access the support they need to pay their bills and stay connected with their employment.”

Mr Hicks said the ETU concerned that many construction industry workers would fall between the cracks of the JobKeeper package, in particular:

  • People in labour hire (many of whom have been in the industry for a decade); and
  • Casual worker who have just finished and started a new project.

“The construction industry operates differently to most other sectors of the economy.

“That’s why we have specific measures in construction, such as portable long service leave, to enable people who move across projects to access the same conditions that apply to other workers.

“The same principle should apply to the JobKeeper package to ensure no one is left behind.”

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