New worker’s agreement could have builders forking out $35k

Jarrod Brown
By Jarrod Brown
3 Min Read

A proposed agreement could see builders across NSW forced to pay up to $35,000 to the CFMEU and their associates for every worker across the state.

Under the new enterprise agreement, which the construction union has reportedly demanded tradies sign up to, builders will be forced to pay $400 per worker to an organisation controlled by the ACT CFMEU to train tradies on handling silica.

On top of this, builders will also have to spend $250 per worker on asbestos training, with the costs repeating every three years for “retraining”. 

In an industry first, the agreement will see state builders forking out $1 a week per worker into a training fund controlled by the NSW Construction Division, which will be collected by Victorian-based entity Incolink.

This will rise to $2 a week in 2030 for all the 30,000 workers covered by the agreement.

Incolink will also controversially replace the Australian Construction Industry Redundancy Trust (ACIRT) as the controlling party for workers’ redundancy fund, which would see money funnelled into grants at the entity’s discretion instead of being directed back into the pockets of construction workers.

According to building industry sources, the calculated costs across the life of the agreement would cost companies in business with the CFMEU “at least” $35,000 per worker.

Brian Seidler, Executive Director of the Master Builders Association of NSW, slammed the new agreement, claiming it was the first time the industry in NSW had been forced into a deal where workers wouldn’t reap the rewards.

“It the first time that an industry-wide agreement will force employers to give more into a fund that doesn’t return surpluses to workers,” he told reporters late last week.

He said it was troubling NSW workers’ redundancy payments would go to a fund controlled by the “militant Victorian branch” of the CFMEU and called for transparency with how the money raised by the state would be handled. 

But a spokesman for Incolink, which is headed up by CFMEU Victorian chief John Setka, hit back.

“Our success in attracting workers and employers to Incolink is based on our industry-leading employee entitlement offering. We generate strong, secure returns, which allow us to fund industry-best services and training,” he told the Daily Mail.

Incolink also rejected any suggestion NSW funds would be sent interstate and claimed that, while they did not return dividends to workers, their fund was superior to the previous model.

“Returns on investment are reinvested back into creating a stronger local industry with training, health and other services to NSW workers,” he said.

“Over the past 5 years, Incolink has invested more than $130 million in local NSW property construction projects.”

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Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. He has a strong passion for new and emerging consumer technology within the building sector. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.