An article recently ran on the Abc.net.au website which is extremely relevant for workers and employers in the construction industry.
The construction union has expressed concern about the SA building industry’s inability or failure to make industry fund payments on time. The union says their concerns are fuelled by the fact that workers are the ones who suffer when employers fall behind on payments. Employers have been urged to remember that the money they pay is used for worker’s benefits such as redundancy payments etc.
Also perhaps an even more concerning consequence of this lack of payment by the industry is that it is an indication of the state of the industry. Although there has been a slight improvement in the industry which is expected to continue to grow over the next couple of years, at the moment things still seem to be slow and companies are battling to make certain payments.
Now there are fears that workers in South Australia may have to go without their payments because of the stoppage in cash flow. The CFMEU have urged building firms to make their payments and keep up to date with payments so that employees aren’t denied their rightful pay-outs especially from the smaller sub-contractors that are new to the industry.
Read what this article from Abc.net.au reported on the incident:
CFMEU secretary Aaron Cartledge said delays in payments were an indicator of how the industry was faring.
“The industry is contracting at the moment. There’s not as many jobs,” he said.
“What we’ve found [is] we had a huge influx of new subcontractors and companies come in through the stimulus package and the BER projects on schools.
“We’re seeing as the market tightens up that those companies are starting to have cash flow problems.”
Mr Cartledge said he feared workers would pay the price.
“The fear is that our members go without the money,” he said.
“I know people that will say they can line up and get some of their entitlements through the Government GEERS scheme but it’s not really fair that taxpayers have got to foot the bill either.
“But always at the end of the day when companies pass these sort of liabilities on, it’s our members that get caught.”
The article goes on to explain that more than 300 workers at the Royal Adelaide Hospital construction site walked off the site on Tuesday last week because of the condition of toilets, which management had failed to fix despite complaints from workers. The toilets were apparently overflowing, amongst other malfunctions. The workers went back to work the following morning.
The problem was sorted out by management who had the toilets unblocked and plumbed, which alleviated the overflow problem. There are also talks of more cleaners being brought in to keep up with the demand of having so many workers on one site.