|Issue No 11||30 April 1999|
Skill Shortage Leads to Tiling Crisis
A skills shortage in the roofing industry is at the heart of the ongoing roof crisis in the wake of this month's savage storms across Sydney.
The CFMEU says with low wages and no apprenticeship system, there is a chronic shortage of tilers needed to repair hundreds of rooms damaged in the fierce storms.
It says the industry, which employs about 400 tilers, needed twice that many even before the recent disaster.
The roof tile industry is dominated by three companies which control 70 per cent of the manufacture and installation of tiles, Boral, Pioneer and Monier. The union says none of those companies has employed a single apprentice in the last 30 years.
Malcolm French, the CFMEU's roof tile organiser, says a problem that has been brewing for decades has now come to a head.
"They forced all their workers to form proprietary limited companies decades ago, the aim of doing that was to circumvent awards and statutory requirements such as workers compensation," French says.
"The workers aren't allowed to collectively bargain because if they talk about their rates of pay because they are businesses, it represents a breach of the Trade Practices Act.
French says the low rates means its increasingly unviable to work in the industry and that training apprentices is a luxury few tilers can afford.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005