New Victorian building codes are taking a hard line with those who do not comply with the conditions possibly facing being blacklisted from further contracts.
The key aspects of the guidelines, as provided by the AAP, include:
- Companies contracted to government projects who breach the guidelines can be indefinitely blacklisted from future projects.
- Parties are banned from entering into sham contracts designed to avoid strike pay, right of entry or freedom of association obligations;
- Coercion or pressure to make over-award payments is banned;
- Contractors must take all reasonable steps to end unlawful industrial action, including pursuing legal action where possible;
- Contractors must have policies to promote the right to join or not to join a union;
- Tenderers for projects where the Victorian public-sector contribution is above $10 million are to submit detailed plans detailing approaches to workplace safety, dispute resolution and response to industrial action;
The guidelines clearly address the issues of sham contracting and coercion that have been key concerns for the Victorian industry over the past few years.
The public building and construction guidelines will be implemented from July 1, but are already causing tension between government and union parties.
Victorian Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CMFEU) secretary Bill Oliver has slammed the new codes as ‘an attack on unions.’
“This whole code leads to taking short cuts on construction sites, short cuts lead to breaches of health and safety,” he says. “It’s an attack on unions, it’s an attack on union conditions and it’s an attack generally on workers’ health and safety.”
Finance Minister Robert Clark believes the codes will have the opposite effect, claiming they will help to further protect the construction sector in the state. Clark places the responsibility on unions to enable their positive implementation.
“It will only be anti-union if unions are anti-productive and are anti-safe workplaces,” he says.
By Tim Moore