The Building Code is an extra set of rules that the Builders must adhere to in order to tender for any Government funded construction projects.
The new code has the effect of forcing employers who have successfully negotiated an EBA with their employees to renegotiate and remove certain clauses just so that they can be eligible for Government work.
Builders whose EBAs included any of the following positive measures would be unable to tender for Government work unless they become “code compliant”.
Limits on ordinary and overtime hours
Limits on use of labour hire workers
Limits on use of casual workers
Fixed rostered days off
Limits on number and use of overseas workers
Union representative structures and procedures.
Clauses that encourage the hiring of women and older workers.
Union stickers, posters and clothing
The code is designed to impose sanctions on employers who recognise the union and negotiate with their employees in good faith. The Government is using its buying power to blackmail employers who engage productively with the union. This is union bashing - plain and simple - carried out by blackmailing builders.
Before the ABCC was passed, companies in the industry urged the Government to give them long lead time to become compliant so that they could re-negoatiate agreements as they expired, and not pull the rug out from under their employees. Initially the crossbench agreed to this practical request – but in an 11th hour deal with Turnbull and the Liberals, Nick Xenophon, Derryn Hinch and Pauline Hanson decided to change the deadline to September 1 2017. This sent the industry into a spin. Some employers are anxious not to be barred from Government tendering, others are seizing the opportunity to strip back wages and conditions that were agreed to in previous EBAs under the guise of "code compliance"
The Eureka flag flew for the first occasion on Bakery Hill as a symbol of the resistance of the gold miners during the Eureka Stockade rebellion in the year 1854. Beneath this flag, Peter Lalor, leader of the Ballarat Reform League, swore this oath to the affirmation of his fellow demonstrators: "we swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties." It has since become a widley used symbol of democracy, struggle and unity in Australia.
In a new directive, the Australian Building and Construction Commission has warned that employers will be in breach of the national construction code, and face being ineligible to tender for commonwealth building work, if they do not abide by “more stringent” limits on the display of union logos and mottos. The new code says the presence of a single union logo suggesting an employee must be a union member to work on site would be a breach.
The guidance material issued on January 30 says offending material includes “images generally attributed to, or associated with an organisation, such as the iconic symbol of the five white stars and white cross on the Eureka Stockade flag”.
Already companies are scrambling to act on the directive and maintain their ability to tender for government contracts. Kane Constructions has threatened site managers with their jobs if flags are not removed from cranes on sites around Melbourne in an attempt to enforce misguided advice from Turnbull's ABCC political attack dog. This is exactly that the government wanted. By attacking workers' rights to freely assosciate with, and be proud of their union, they continue their quest to drive trade unionism into the dust.
But here's the thing: We're not rolling over. This directive is ridiculous. It's the kind of thing you'd expect in a dictatorship!
That's why we're offering all CFMEU members a "union pride" sticker and poster pack! Click here and we'll get one out to you just as soon as they're printed.
The most important thing that any union member can do is to be informed and to make sure that your coworkers are too.