Construction job losses growing as Govt ponders new imported labour agreements
National Construction Division Secretary, Dave Noonan today renewed the CFMEU’s call for an immediate suspension of the use of temporary 457 visas and Enterprise Migration Agreements (EMAs) in the construction industry, to protect Australian workers.
“457 visas must be restricted only to situations where there is a genuine and demonstrated shortage of skilled Australian workers,” Mr Noonan said.
Mr Noonan said both official employment data and anecdotal evidence showed the downturn in the Australian construction industry was extremely serious.
ABS and other data shows:
- In the 12 months to August 2012, the Australian construction industry lost 68,000 jobs
- A further 58,000 construction workers were underemployed in August 2012, working less hours than they wanted
- In the September MBA National Survey, construction employers reported less difficulty finding semi-skilled workers than a year ago
- And 27,500 Australian job seekers have registered with the Government’s Resources Sector Jobs Board as of 25 October 2012.
“But despite this, the number of 457 visa workers in the Australian construction industry is skyrocketing. Between June 2011 and August 2012, the number of 457 visa-holders working in the Australian construction sector actually increased by a massive 44% - from 8,330 to 11,980 – an increase of 3,650.”
“On top of this, we also know that there are several EMA applications on the Immigration Minister’s desk being considered – applications for thousands more overseas workers to come to Australia to work on major projects,” Mr Noonan said.
“There is significant pressure in our industry, and the recent spate of job losses and company collapses are very worrying signs. The Federal Government cannot behave like it is business as usual.
"We have had job loss announcements recently by Boral, Holcim and Fletchers, and another building company go into administration in Southern Cross.
“If the Federal Government does care about Australian jobs, they should implement an immediate pause on EMAs for the big mining companies, and force them to find local labour.
“The Union knows that there are many, many workers trying to find a start and the Federal Government surely has a responsibility to support these workers finding jobs, rather than helping big companies bring in temporary overseas workers,” Mr Noonan said.
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