Image related to Federal Labor must listen to community - suspend EMAs and other temporary foreign labour agreements
"Many jobs are being lost. There's no reason for mining companies to source workers overseas." Noonan.
Created Thu 25/10/2012, Last Updated Wed 31/10/2012

Federal Labor must listen to community - suspend EMAs and other temporary foreign labour agreements

CFMEU National Construction Division Secretary Dave Noonan will use a Senate Committee hearing into Enterprise Migration Agreements in Melbourne today to call on the Labor Government to suspend the use of temporary overseas workers in the construction industry, as local jobs are lost across the country. 

 The CFMEU's submission to the Committee calls for amendments to the Protecting Local Jobs (Regulating Enterprise Migration Agreements) Bill 2012 to strengthen protection for local workers and jobs, to make EMAs open and accountable, and to increase work rights and protections for temporary visa workers. 

"Given the downturn in retail and commercial construction however, we are now calling for an immediate pause to EMAs  for the construction phase of major resource projects," Mr Noonan said. 

"It is clear to everyone in our industry that there are many jobs being lost, and many skilled and other workers are looking for a start. There is no reason at the moment for big mining companies to be sourcing workers from overseas when local construction workers are out of work," Mr Noonan said.  

ABS and other data shows:

  • In the 12 months to August, 2012, the Australian construction industry lost 68,000 jobs
  • 58,000 construction workers were underemployed in August, working less hours than they wanted
  • In the September MBA National Survey, construction employers reported less difficultly finding semi-skilled workers than a year ago

"The Government has said it is committed to the employment of Australian workers before the use of temporary overseas labor.  If they are serious about this, they should announce an immediate moratorium on EMAs and similar agreements, support legislation requiring employers to use the Resources Sector Jobs Board, and back legislation that guarantees Australian workers have a legally enforceable right to Australian Construction jobs,” Mr Noonan said.

"Our union believes economic circumstances have changed so much that an immediate pause in the use temporary foreign labor must be implemented.   These agreements undercut jobs and pay and conditions for local workers. There is no need for these agreements in the present circumstances," Mr Noonan said. 

  • NOTE MEDIA: Dave Noonan is available for comment before the Senate hearing at St James Court Conference Centre, 12 Batman Street, Melbourne at 12.30pm.