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eTradesman.com.au - Australia's Online Tradesman Directory

Tradesman NEWS - Tradies Earning $210K

SPECIAL payments for dirty, dusty, wet and smelly work are among dozens of workers' allowances on major building projects. As building trade salaries soar to up to $210,000 a year, business is facing a cost blowout for construction projects in Victoria. A Herald Sun examination of three key building projects reveals their workers get some of the world's best provisions. They include extra money to work in dirty and dusty conditions, tens of thousands of dollars to live away from home and free work clothes. But in many cases the staff toil for their money, working up to 56 hours in a six-day week. The projects were the Eastern Treatment Plant upgrade, the desalination project near Wonthaggi and the new gas power station near Mortlake. Two of the three are backed by the Victorian Government. The skills shortage and the influence of the unions are two of the forces boosting salaries. Master Builders Association boss Brian Welch warned the agreements created unsustainable cost pressures. "In the past, this made Victoria an uncompetitive place to build," he said. "There is a real risk that history will repeat." But Trades Hall boss Brian Boyd said Victoria had a history of separate agreements for major projects that reflected the importance of the work. "They are the best deals going," he said. The building industry fears the conditions will lead to a blowout in wage demands. The agreements reveal that tradesmen and labourers earn a base wage of, for example $1600, according to experience and qualifications. But this explodes after overtime, meal allowances, first aid bonuses and travel allowances. The agreements also rise at well above inflation, with workers at the treatment plant upgrade getting pay rises of more than 20 per cent over the life of the agreement. Origin Energy is building a gas-fired power station near Mortlake. Their workers' agreement is among the most generous. Workers are paid $4.35 an hour extra if they have to work in confined spaces or face dust, dampness, dirt, second-hand timber or fumes. Construction contractor Conneq Infrastructure Services embraces their deal. "We are happy with the agreement we have in place at Mortlake," spokeswoman Sheila Maidment said. Desalination plant builders Thiess Degremont said it was important to remember that the $200,000-plus figure included a base rate of pay plus allowances. "Base salaries and living away from home allowances are consistent with other mixed-metals agreements around the country," spokeswoman Serena Middleton said. A spokesman for Industrial Relations Minister Martin Pakula said the private companies fixed pay and conditions, not the Government. Source: News.com.au http:--www.news.com.au-money-money-matters-lonely-dusty-tradies-on-210000-per-year-on-major-building-projects-story-e6frfmd9-1225935197380<-a><-b><-i>
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