Government outlaws union-friendly agreements

Derryn Hinch and the three Nick Xenophon Team Senators voted with the government to sell out workers.

Derryn Hinch and the three Nick Xenophon Team Senators voted with the government on February 15 to pass a bill fast-tracking the new federal building code that outlaws union-friendly agreements on Commonwealth-funded building sites, such as schools, hospitals and roads.

The clauses include union consultation provisions, restrictions on the use of labour hire staff, and requirements for non-working site delegates.

Up to 3000 construction companies will now have to replace their union-friendly agreements before they can become eligible to win lucrative federal contracts.

CFMEU secretary Dave Noonan said on February 15 workers would launch rallies and work stoppages that would bring the industry to a halt.

"We are not going to be stampeded into selling out hard-won conditions by this legislation," he said. "Right across Australia, the industry will stop and workers will go to rallies and they will say, 'Enough is enough'."

The Electrical Trades Union blasted the government and Senate crossbench on February 16, saying the new code made it harder for unions to enforce safety standards and preventing contractors from undercutting pay and conditions.

ETU secretary Allen Hicks said the legislation would "sow the seeds of industrial chaos and endanger lives."

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