31 May 2016Subcontractors cannot be required to enter into specific enterprise agreements

Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC) has become aware that at least one building contractor in Victoria appears to be making it a requirement for its subcontractors to enter into the proposed draft CFMEU Enterprise Agreement.

The Building Code 2013 clearly prohibits building contractors from engaging in activity that requires or attempts to unduly influence a subcontractor or supplier to have particular workplace arrangements in place. Subcontractors have a free choice in making decisions on what Industrial Instrument is best suited for their own particular business.

Contractors cannot refuse to award building contracts based on a subcontractor having a union or non-union Enterprise Agreement and cannot coerce a subcontractor to have a particular agreement.

Coercion is the act of organising or taking action, or threatening to organise or take action against another person with intent to coerce the person, or a third person to do something they don’t want to do. Coercion interferes with a person’s freedom of choice.

Certain kinds of coercion are unlawful under the general protections provisions in the Fair Work Act 2009. Persons or organisations who engage in unlawful coercion may be prosecuted.

Building Industry participants are reminded that from 18 May 2016, any new enterprise agreements need to be compliant with the current Building Code 2013 in order for contractors to be eligible for work on future Commonwealth funded construction projects.

Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC) is responsible for monitoring compliance with the Building Code 2013. Enterprise agreements can be submitted to FWBC at assessments[at]fwbc.gov.au.

FWBC is available to provide information and advice to all building industry participants on workplace rights and obligations, including subcontractors, workers, employers and their representatives. You can remain anonymous when you make an enquiry.

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