Turnbull's building code won't push us back

Members in the contracting industry have rightly been asking what impact the impending ABCC Building Code may have on our largest enterprise agreement.

Of the ETU’s almost 20,000 strong membership, 10,000 members rely on the pattern contracting agreement.

Since the mid-2000s, thousands of families have benefited from the annual pay rises and impressive conditions the pattern agreement has achieved with your continued support and the union’s strong leadership.

Malcolm Turnbull’s ABCC – passed in Parliament by Derryn ‘the Grinch’ Hinch, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and Nick Xenophon’s party, held the prospect that agreements like ours could face a litany of restrictions.

Now that the Commission is in place and the Building Code is set to come into force, the union is working to determine how members can keep as much of our industry-leading agreement as possible.

Even employers were complaining about the restrictions in the code. Under the controversial laws that authorise the code, a contractor is prevented from tendering for any federal government-funded projects if they have any agreements with workers that include forbidden clauses. This even includes agreements on commercial projects like apartment towers.

There is pressure on both unions and employers to strike code-compliant agreements, lest workers forego pay rises or contractors miss out on major government work.

If we ever do a code-compliant agreement, it will be after exploring every possible avenue to secure the pay and conditions you have won over many years. We’re determined to build on our wins, not give them up.

Members can rest assured your wages and conditions are safe in the hands of the union. Thinking strategically and fighting fearlessly are in the DNA of this organisation. We will come out on top.

We are working with the other unions to steer our members through these stormy waters and uphold the exceptional living standards we have won together.

But let us make something absolutely clear: we will not rest for one moment of one hour of one day until Malcolm Turnbull and his ABCC are gone. We will campaign to end the discrimination against workers in construction once and for all.