June 2013 Industry Update

FWBC conducts site visits following Melbourne Stop Work Rally

The recent Stop Work Rally in Melbourne has prompted FWBC to conduct 42 educative site visits to remind workers about their rights and obligations. FWBC has received notifications from five head contractors that some of their workers may have attended the rally during working hours and without prior permission.

Under the Building Code 2013, Code-compliant contractors are required to notify the Director of FWBC in writing of a breach, or suspected breach, of the Code within 21 days after becoming aware of the breach or suspected breach.  This can be done via the following email address codereporting [at] fwbc.gov.au.

If workers plan to leave worksites outside of break times, or without prior leave, they could be in breach the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act). FWBC issued an E-alert, prior to the Melbourne rally, to remind construction workers of this fact.

Further, workers who leave the site during work hours and without permission should be docked a minimum of four hours’ pay. It is unlawful, under the FW Act, to demand to be paid for this time. The FW Act prohibits unprotected industrial action and the payment of strike pay. As the independent standalone regulator of workplace relations laws on Australia’s construction sites, FWBC is responsible for investigating alleged instances of unlawful strike action and strike pay.

Penalties of up to $10,200 apply to construction workers who are found to have breached the FW Act.

FWBC will continue to monitor and investigate breaches of the FW Act and educate industry participants about their rights and obligations. We are committed to supporting a balanced framework for cooperative, productive and harmonious workplace relations in the building and construction industry – to ensure there is an environment where the industry can attract strong investment, skilled workers and deliver vital national infrastructure.

Further information

E-Alert – Melbourne rally on 30 April 2013

FWBC website – Industrial Action

FWBC website – Strike Pay

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