Bob risking wrath of unions

BOB the Builder must be glad his building sites are all in England and far from the reach of what promises to be WA’s new industrial relations regime.

In recent months the children’s choice of builder has been slammed for his “unsafe” work practices, including hanging off the side of his bulldozer, Scoop, running under pipes dangling from a crane and not observing building site visitor safety guidelines.

If passed, the Industrial Relations Reform Bill will allow unions, such as the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, to use worker safety as a legitimate excuse to enter a building site.

Under previous IR systems safety has not been an industrial matter and was left to Government agencies such as WorkSafe to enforce.

Indeed, safety of members has often been a union excuse for gaining entry to a site, even though it had not previously been an accepted avenue for them to do so.

The change means union inspectors will become defacto WorkSafe inspectors.

Employers are already concerned about the leeway the new laws will give unions to enter their workplaces.

Business owners that Business News has spoken to claim to have enjoyed less-than-cordial relations with unions, which have been seeking to unionise their employees.

They also believe unions will be able to gain access to more than just the time and wages records the Bill says they can peruse, and be able to delve into commercially confidential documents.

Added to their concerns are proposals to bring WA’s occupational health and safety laws into the WA Industrial Relations Commission.

The Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry has probed the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union’s use of ‘safety meetings’ to ensure all workers on site are paid-up union members.

Well may Bob ask “can we fix it” because the answer may not necessarily be “yes we can”.

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