New CFMEU agreement ends weekend work

CFMEU national secretary Dave Noonan.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union's Queensland construction branch has reached an in-principle agreement that will end weekend work and increase pay and overtime rates.

The new agreement with Multiplex, Hutchinson, Watpac, Probuild and Icon complies with the federal government's building code. This prevents builders with agreements containing banned conditions, including restrictions on casual labour, union consultation arrangements and controls over rostered days off, from competing for federally-funded work.

The agreement removes Saturday work from normal hours for the first time and cuts the state's traditional six-day, 58-hour week to a five-day, 50-hour week. Ordinary time will be limited to 10-hour days from Monday to Friday, and overtime payments will increase from time and a half to double time. The new hours will be phased in over the next 18 months.

The agreement also includes two wage increases of 5% a year from 2019 and penalty rates of 250% for casuals and those working on a rostered day off.

CFMEU national secretary Dave Noonan said the move was prompted by workers wanting to use their weekends for leisure, or to spend time with their children and Queensland was now "leading the way" on a five-day week.

"It's not a thing in other eastern states," he said, "but I would be surprised if it doesn't spread.

"It's pretty archaic when you think of it — people working massive amounts of overtime in hard, physical jobs.

"You had blokes in their 50s who regretted not spending time with their kids for Saturday sport. The new generation, their sons and daughters, looked at that and said they didn't want it."

The agreement expires next year when a federal election is due. Labor has promised to scrap the building code and the CFMEU intends to hold them to that promise.

"We've got a very clear policy that Labor should abolish the ABCC and the building code," Noonan said. "They've said so and we intend to hold them to it. If elected, they should have a mandate to do it."

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