Seidler said that if the RDO schedule threatened a construction program, “they will simply choose non-union contractors,” saying that “many” subcontractors are now trying to get out of their agreements. The union rejected any proposal that security claims are part of its enterprise agreement negotiations. At the Bathurst Street probuild site in Sydney`s CBD, the union said it had identified serious safety issues as part of its long-standing safety campaign, including black mould under tiles in the toilets, inadequate guardrails and fire protection systems that did not reach the upper floors of the site. The notice marks an escalation of the CFMEU`s negotiating strategy, which uses subcontractors to pressure the owners to sign their new enterprise agreement. The government`s building inspection is investigating a safety control campaign by the construction union, which has concluded several construction sites in Sydney for more than $1 billion over days amid negotiations over enterprise agreements. The MBA argues that the CFMEU agreement would increase the cost of a project from $100 million to 9 per cent in the midst of an economic recovery. Watpac and Probuild, which have had a reputation for being pro-union in the past but have not accepted this year`s EBA, both declined to comment. The union tried to get a major developer to sign its agreement without success for the past year, but hundreds of subcontractors accepted it. Under enterprise agreements proposed by the Energy and Forests Union, workers receive wage increases of 5% per year, about three times more than this year, and are released every two Mondays. The Union of Construction, Forestry, Navigation, Mining and Energy informed subcontractors covered by its new enterprise agreement on Monday that it would notify the building inspection of all those who had not set up their fixed RDOs before December. Under the current CFMMEU agreement, construction workers at commercial sites receive about $3,200 before taxes for a 56-hour week, according to the union`s payrolls. The union said that construction masters with an agreement that some projects would not be subject to the fixed schedule of the RDO. The union advanced its industrial agreement last year, but, unusually, all the major owners have so far refused to sign, as they enter into a tense stalemate to see which competitor will be the first to withdraw.
According to the CFMEU communication, known as the “friendly recall to subcontractors,” the new RDO schedule for the agreement will come into effect from December 1. The Construction, Forestry, Navigation, Mining and Energy Union NSW has targeted pro-union companies to be the first to sign their controversial new mining contract, which could force the rest of the sector to follow suit. The deal includes 5 percent pay rises a year and a new day-off schedule that would close on a Monday at two sites by forcing workers to take their RDOs on certain dates.