Construction workers accept 15% pay rise

Issue 

Up to 5000 Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union members in Victoria's building industry unanimously endorsed an enterprise agreement that guarantees a 15% pay rise over the three years of the agreement.

CFMEU assistant state secretary Bill Oliver said the agreement will cover approximately 26,000 construction workers.

The August 26 CFMEU members' mass meeting was the first since 2004. The new agreement also delivers the workers a 15% increase in the industry bosses' superannuation contribution, and a 15% travel and fares rise, with site allowances to be adjusted according to the consumer price index.

Construction workers' rostered day off (RDO) calendar will remain intact, guaranteeing 26 paid RDOs per year and some fixed long weekends. A new clause stipulates that bosses must give five working days' or seven calendar days' notice if they want employees to work on an RDO. The union and workers on the site will then decide if they will work on the RDO.

The new agreement will include existing conditions from a previous agreement with the Master Builders Association, the industry's major employer group in Victoria.

The MBA would have preferred trade-offs in conditions for the 15% pay increase, such as more employer control over RDO calendars, but has not advocated that bosses reject the agreement with the CFMEU. The MBA's industrial relations manager Lawrie Cross encourages construction companies in a media release to instead look into other agreements that "break the old mould of 'stand and deliver'".

A resolution to not return to work after the mass meeting was unanimously passed by the workers.