If you live in Sydney whether you work in construction or not you would of no doubt heard of 'corruption issues' brought up on television and in print. Its also a hot topic at the moment in parliament and AM talk back radio.
For all unfamiliar CFMEU is the union that construction workers are covered under in Australia. In a lot of ways the construction union is good, it gets the workers to unite together making them more team players, it help the workers to secure decent wages, they help their workers make claims if they are injured or have been ripped off and the union will look into safety matters that are raised by its members.
My understanding of the issue that bought 'union corruption' to the forefront was the death of a worker at Barangaroo in Sydney. As construction workers may or may not know is their compulsory CBUS superannuation has cover for death (I believe it is up to $250,000)
The issue for this unfortunate worker was that his employer was "allegedly" not paying his superannuation and thus did not have the life insurance cover that he would of if his employer was doing what is required by law and paying the mandatory superannuation payments.
Journalists then uncover that this employer "allegedly" has a history of bankrupting companies without paying worker entitlements such as superannuation and "allegedly" may have ties to orginised crime.
This brings into question of why the CFMEU would give such a company with a director with such a track record the green light to work on this project?
The prime minister Tony Abbott has announced he would like a royal commission into union corruption, so this whole thing is kind of a big deal.
I have an opinion on this issue and I am quite angry about the whole thing. Firstly why why why are there so many companies out there in this country that do not pay superannuation, its supposedly the law to pay an ammount of 9% of what the employees wages are to their superannuation fund but I can tell you 100% there are companies out there that have never paid a cent to superannuation for their workers, and these are not small companies these are well to do people, pillars of the community so to speak... its a joke!
I know of one construction contractor that never pays super, and whenever an employee puts in a claim to get their super (you can claim against an employer at the Australian Tax Office website) the company registers as bankrupt with no assets and reopens again under a different name, effectively wiping the money owed to the workers. Id like to say that these companies are few and far between but no they are everywhere, and the government doesn't want to and wont crack down on them. Why? perhaps they dont want to slow down construction as it brings in good revenue to the government, perhaps they think it will make to many companies cease operating and thus reduce GDP and perhaps they just dont care about individual workers at the end of the day! After all the issue of superannuation not being pay is an issue that a government at a far later time will have to deal with.
Lets also remember that we supposedly have government orginisations that supposedly regulate companies to ensure the rule of law is upheld, we have the Australian Tax Office, we also have the Australian Securities and Investments Commission that regulates companies. It would be nice if we had an inquiry into certain individuals at the ATO that use the orginisation to harass individuals with frivolous claims they have no chance of winning. ATO lost against Kerry Packer, Paul Hogan and they wont get a cent from me, but anyway back on topic...
It seems to me like this government is twisting this issue, its a classic straw man
A. Company is not paying workers life insurance and worker dies without cover
B. lets go after the construction union
To me the issue is the companies not paying the workers life insurance / superannuation / taxes etc not that out of the tens of thousands of companies that are doing this one or two have some association with the construction union.
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