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CFMEU feels strongly that jobs and investment still come first

13 October, 2009

The CFMEU’s position regarding the ABCC remains unchanged. Its opposition to coercive powers is fundamental.

It says it is not going to endorse coercive powers in any way, shape or form.

Government legislation has been introduced that abolishes the ABCC (Australian Building and Construction Commissioner) but retains many objectionable features including coercive powers (with some safeguards).

"It is not clear whether the Bill will get through the Senate, and if so, what amendments the Independents or Greens may insist on," says Dave Noonan.

"Meanwhile, we still have Howard’s construction laws in place, and Ark Tribe faces six months imprisonment for standing up for his rights on site.

"Employer groups such as the Master Builders (MBA), who support these laws are ignoring the real problems which confront the industry:

"Those are: safety, apprenticeships, and now, more than ever, jobs."

Investment crisis

The union recently asked Access Economics to undertake a study about investment and jobs in the industry.

Access Economics found that 35,000 workers had lost their jobs in construction over the past 12 months. They predict that:

- 81,000 jobs could go over  the next 3 years
- 6000 apprenticeships could be slashed by 2012
- Construction output could decline by 12.1%

Rather than spend their energy focussed on retaining Howard’s failed legacy of union bashing, the MBA  and other employer organisations and government ought to be working on attracting jobs and investment into the industry.

The continual denigration of construction workers by politicians and the MBA does not create one job, one apprenticeship or help attract investment.

They refuse to tell the truth- which is that Australia has one of the most productive industries in the world.

Proud to take a lead

"At the CFMEU we are proud of our industry and its achievements," adds Noonan.

"We’re not shocked by politicians who know nothing about the industry bagging it for political reasons.

"But it’s time that the builders and subbies, who the MBA claim to represent, asked why they spend all their time and energy running the Liberal Party’s failed and discredited lines, rather than acting in the best interests of the industry.

"It’s time we started creating a future in this industry that’s based on working co-operatively together to deal with the issues around investment, productivity, safety and providing a decent working future for Australian construction workers.

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