||Issue No. 306||12 May 2006|
Interview: Out of the Bedroom
Industrial: Cloak and Dagger
Legal: The Fantasy of Choice
Politics: Labor Pains
Economics: Economics and the Public Purpose
Corporate: House of Horrors
History: Clash Of Cultures
International: Childs Play
Culture: Folk You Mate!
Review: Last Holeproof Hero
The Locker Room
The Real Truth About Independent Contractors
Gerry Built Apartments Fall Behind
Gerry Hanssen already uses “guest labour”, AWAs and body hire to undercut going industry rates by hundreds of dollars a week.
And the cost is being borne by buyers of his Swan River and CBD apartments who face long delays before they can occupy their dwellings.
An internal Hanssen Pty memo, leaked to Workers Online, reveals the company wants more than 50 additional "guest workers" as projects, across Perth, fall months behind schedule.
The May Day memo shows his most advanced job, One-28, is only 37 percent completed when it should be 85 percent ready. Avena has reached less than a third of its planned 66.9 percent completion; and Soho is more than 50 percent behind schedule.
Hanssen admits both his most advanced projects are more than three months behind.
CFMEU state secretary, Kevin Reynolds, says it is little wonder because experienced construction workers won't put up with sub-standard wages, conditions or health and safety.
"He's indicated to us that he intends importing 300 guest workers," Reynolds says.
"People on the ground say he is paying the Filipinos $15 an hour, all-in, but we can't confirm that because it's Gerry's secret. He refuses to discuss it.
"We know for a fact he has them working on site, seven days a week.
"What we also know is that he uses AWAs and labour hire to pay all-in rates to his Australian workers. They don't get sick leave, redundancy, rostered days off or annual leave and the guys won't stay."
Reynolds says, on core rates alone, Hanssen pays crane drivers $16 an hour below EBA standards.
Hanssen's first foray into construction, The Tile Shop, ended in bankruptcy.
He reappeared as a small-scale operation before being contracted to do all the building for Singapore-based Finbar which has capitalised on Perth's apartment boom.
Hanssen is aggressively anti-union and a champion of Howard Government attempts to cut living standards..
He was one of the first large scale users of "guest labour" in the construction industry.
Hanssen sent his memo to managers to cover a two week absence while he visited India, China and the Phillipines. He said he would be "clearing bureaucratic issues" in Manila.
CFMEU national secretary, John Sutton, said Hanssen represented a growing number of "aggressive" employers keen to cash-in on John Howard's IR laws and lax immigration policy.
"We have seen the number of temporary migration visas skyrocket under this government. This arrangement leaves employers in total control of vulnerable workers. The big winners are unscrupulous employers and the losers are young Australians," Sutton said.
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