Tuesday, 26 July 2022

Dismantling the ABCC

(that is the Downunder Building and Construction Commission for those of you who live Elsewhere) is going to be a disaster.

It is the Commission which, as the name suggests, oversees the building industry. It took years to get this independent statutory authority up and running and the building industry has been much the better for it.

Of course the Commission has had ups and downs but it has been there to increase the cooperation and understanding between all those involved in the building and construction industries as well as ensure compliance with the law.  Over the years the ABCC has saved billions. It has seen a far higher degree of compliance with safety regulations. Days lost through strikes have been reduced.

The union movement was never happy with the ABCC. Some heavy penalties have been handed out to more militant unions for illegal and threatening behaviour. One of the most recent in this state was a  $189,000 penalty for a premeditated picket that had nothing to do with occupational health and safety. It was a commercial matter.

It is of course the union movement which wants to be rid of the ABCC. They are hoping the demise of the ABCC will allow them to once again have the upper hand and that they will then be able to dictate to employers.

In doing so I wonder who they really believe they are helping. It certainly won't be the employers. Employers are regarded as the enemy here. And the workers? Well, for all they might say about "better wages and conditions", it isn't the workers. The extra ten minutes here or two dollars there isn't the issue here. 

This is about power, a lot of power. It is about being able to stop a big building site and bring those responsible for it to ransom. It is an attempt to bring back compulsory union membership on building sites and much more. 

The new government has already reduced the effectiveness of the ABCC by removing regulations that do not require legislation. It does not bode well for the building and construction industry. 

I am left wondering what else the building and construction union bosses are using against the government.

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