Construction union officials are "living in La La Land" over plans for workers to get a three-day weekend every fortnight, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has said.

Weighing into an increasingly messy stoush over pay and conditions, Mr Perrottet labelled the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union's demands for pay rises and a nine-day fortnight "breathtaking". He told The Daily Telegraph that the unions risked hurting productivity at the worst possible time by increasing costs and construction time frames.

CFMEU NSW construction secretary Darren Greenfield. Picture: Monique Harmer
CFMEU NSW construction secretary Darren Greenfield. Picture: Monique Harmer

Under the union's latest enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA), members would work a nine-day fortnight, effectively taking every second Monday off.

The union says 260 subcontractors and builders have signed up but so far major construction firms such as Lend Lease have not. The Master Builders Association has said the new agreement would amount to a 25 per cent increase in pay and conditions for workers over 2½ years.

Mr Perrottet said the demands would lead to less work and fewer jobs.

"Forget the mythical Land of the Long Weekend, the CFMEU are clearly living in La La Land," he said.

 

"It's simply breathtaking that while unemployment lines have lengthened, and the government has poured money into the construction sector to help keep the economy going, unions have seen this as an opportunity to fill their boots."

Mr Perrottet said taxpayers would ultimately have to foot the bill if construction costs blow out on projects in the government's $100bn infrastructure pipeline.

Analysis prepared for the MBA and seen by The Daily Telegraph found the union agreement could delay major projects by at least five weeks a year.

It could also increase costs by up to 9 per cent for a $100m project over 18 months, the analysis says.

CFMEU NSW construction secretary Darren Greenfield accused the MBA of "peddling lies" with "bogus modelling". He said there had been no complaints about increased costs or delays by companies which have adopted the new agreements.

 

 

Originally published as Union in 'La La Land' over nine-day fortnight



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