|Issue No 50||14 April 2000|
Pressure Builds for Compo Pull-Out
By HT Lee
Building workers are upping their campaign for a stand alone on workers compensation scheme.
Over the last two years the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), Electrical Trades Union (ETU), CEPU (Plumbers Union), Metal Workers Union (AMWU) have been campaigning for workers compensation reform. In July last year over 100,000 building workers stopped work in support of reform--tens of thousands marched to the NSW State Parliament in one of the biggest trade union rallies in the last decade.
As a result of the campaign the NSW Government has circulated the construction industry workers compensation proposal for industry consultation. The State Cabinet will be considering submissions from the industry during April and will then decide if there is sufficient support for the proposal.
The CFMEU's proposal has the support of the Master Builders Association (MBA) and major building contractors. However, Gary Brack from the Employers Federation is opposed to it.
A recent delegates meeting of the CFMEU supported the union's campaign. Delegates and organisers will be collecting a minimum of 10,000 signatures from building workers on job sites to present to Premier Carr. Many letters of support from subbies will also be sent to the Premier.
The workers' compo scheme in NSW is in crisis as a direct result of bosses rorting the system, decades of mismanagement and the failure to police compliance--the scheme currently has a $1.6billion deficit.
Union audits on site have uncovered hundreds of shonky bosses:
· paying premiums for only 20% of their workforce
· falsely declaring to their insurance company they are selling ceramic tiles when they are in fact fixing tiles on sites and many other false declarations
· declaring they are importing machinery when in fact they are operating plant etc
What the unions want
Building unions want to pull out of WorkCover and run an industry based scheme which includes:
· industry control and ownership of a special Construction Industry Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Scheme
· a levy on development so the developers contribute (ie 30%) of workers compensation costs
· inspectors to ensure bosses pay their premiums every month, not at the end of the year
· all workers in the industry including sub-contract workers and sole traders to be covered by industry workers compensation
· better rehabilitation opportunities for injured workers
· the surplus from our scheme to be directed to improvements in industry safety
· compliance with workers compensation by all employers so good companies that comply with the law are not undercut by shonky operations
Photo caption: CFMEU delegates launching petition in support of the building industry workers compo
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005