More than 5000 Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) members and delegates packed meetings at Festival Hall in Melbourne and Trades Hall in Geelong to vote on the latest Enterprise Bargaining Agreement for the building industry.
Under the agreement, wages will rise by 20% over four years with increases in superannuation contributions and other allowances. One significant feature of the agreement is that shop stewards will be recognised and be given the time and facilities they need to represent union members.
They will also be granted time off to attend necessary training and meetings. Such provisions are a vast improvement compared with the previous agreement made under WorkChoices that severely restricted what stewards could do.
There were no speakers against the motion to support the EBA, which was passed unanimously.
One member said Victorian Premier Ted Bailleu’s criticism of unions’ campaigns to win improved wages and conditions was astonishing, given the enormous profits that developers
stand to gain from various projects under way around the state.
Another member said it was not so long ago that workers could not access anything like superannuation, severance pay or rostered days off.