Senator Roberts says documents tabled at Senate Estimates reveal a dirty deal between a labour hire company and the CFMEU to strip worker entitlements, with the union promising to stay silent on the issue.
In exchange for employer Chandler Macleod narrowing the application of a new dodgy Enterprise Agreement that paid miners far less, the letter from Chandler MacLeod to the CFMEU Northern Mining and NSW Energy District proposed the union:
“cease from any current and future actions … directed towards ventilating and agitating its view that employees currently engaged by Chandler Macleod … may be entitled to “leave and other entitlements” … or that Chandler Macleod is not paying employees their “lawful terms and conditions””.
The proposed Enterprise Agreement was subsequently registered despite no casual employees voting on the matter. Under the new agreement, permanent positions on full rates of pay were transferred to casual employment.
These casual employees were then paid less than full time equivalents and lost all of their leave entitlements such as sick pay, access to special injury pay for miners and annual leave.
Despite the lower rates of pay and loss of entitlements, the agreement was signed off by the Fair Work Commission as passing the Better Off Overall Test (BOOT).
Senator Roberts asked the Commission today at Senate Estimates if they had been misled in the statutory declarations provided by Chandler MacLeod and CFMEU bosses, which were used to support the approval. The Commission was unable to answer.
Senator Roberts said “There has been fraud in the Hunter Valley between the local CFMEU division and labour hire company Chandler MacLeod.”
“The letter I have tabled in Senate Estimates today shows a dodgy deal done by union bosses who are meant to represent workers where they specifically agreed to never argue that these exploited workers have been ripped off.”
“Clearly, the Fair Work Commission is ill-equipped to assess Enterprise Agreements. This case shows union negotiated Enterprise Agreements can leave workers much worse off.”