Mixed signals from Government on labour relations

PROPERTY owners and developers face uncertain times – and labour relations is one issue that could well cause headaches over coming months.

An eerie quiet has developed after a series of media reports concerning visits by large numbers of union officials to construction sites to enlist members.

That is not to say that nothing is happening. Employers have advised us that unions are continuing to make their presence felt.

Large-scale industrial action has not eventuated, but there is nervousness about it eventuating.

The new Government is giving mixed signals about its strategy to deal with industrial unrest.

On one hand it is indicating that it will increase union access to worksites and provide for collective agreements to override individual agreements.

On the other hand, the Minister for Labour Relations has told the Property Council: “I am concerned about the no ticket, no start campaign and strongly condemn any conduct or practices that breach industrial laws. Addressing this issue will be a priority task for BISPI.”

It remains to be seen whether the Government’s new Building Industry and Special Projects Inspectorate acts on this concern.

We will readily be able to assess whether the no ticket, no start banners feature on building sites.

If WA is to attract investment and jobs in property, we need to show investors that we are not going to return to the industrial confrontation experienced during the 1970s and 1980s.

A Property Council of Australia and Master Builders of Australia lunch forum will discuss these issues and more on Friday June 15.

The Minister for Labour Relations will be addressing the function. Contact 9321 1156 for more details.

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