Construction workers vote up 36-hour week

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Construction workers vote up 36-hour week

A mass meeting of Victorian construction workers today unanimously voted up an enterprise agreement which will deliver a 36-hour week, pay rises totaling 12% over three years and a 37.5% increase in superannuation.

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A mass meeting of Victorian construction workers today unanimously voted up an enterprise agreement which will deliver a 36-hour week, pay rises totaling 12% over three years and a 37.5% increase in superannuation.

The deal, agreed to in principle last month after five weeks of negotiations between the construction union and major employers, delivers the 36-hour week from 1 March 2004, by increasing the number of rostered days off available to workers.

They will now have 26 RDOs each year for the life of the agreement, fixed on the calendar at the start of each year. And work from Monday to Saturday will be limited to 56 hours each week, thus capping overtime at a maximum of 20 hours.

Pay rises over the 35 months of the deal will be delivered on 1 March each year, with the first instalment equaling 3% or CPI, whichever is greater, followed by rises of 4% and 5%.

Superannuation contributions also increase by 37.5% over the life of the agreement, going up from $80 now (or 9%, whichever is greater) to $95 from 1 July next year, $100 a year later and $110 from 1 July 2005.

Site allowances and redundancy contributions increase by CPI for the life of the agreement, and travel allowances will move to $24.55 a day over the same time.

The deal, voted up today by members of the construction and FEDFA divisions of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, is expected to flow on to other sectors and other states.

NSW construction agreements are up for renegotiation, and the unions there are keen to entrench a 36-hour week. While the Victorian unions and Master Builders' Association finished their negotiations in five weeks, the NSW deal is expected to take longer to settle, with employers unlikely to give ground on the 36-hour issue.

They will be negotiating in a new environment, with federal Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott formally launching on Tuesday an interim construction taskforce to police breaches of the Workplace Relations Act.

 
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