Another win against labour hire in WA shipbuilding

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The ETU has long been battling with dodgy labour hire practices in WA's shipbuilding industry, and last week hit a key milestone stamping out the last of this at BAE Systems. Industry Organiser Mark Mocerino shares the story of how this hard-fought victory was won...

WA’s Shipbuilding Industry has 2 major players with decent union EBAs. Unfortunately those companies have also been exploiting some workers through labour hire.

Last year saw the end of labour hire at ASC, where Trojan Recruitment and Chandler MacLeod supplied trades people to perform work alongside full time employees, at different rates of pay between the 3 different employers.

We tried working with the contractors to lift their rates and level the playing field, but they weren’t interested in that; so we turned to ASC who in the end decided to offer 22 of their long-term labour hire employees full time roles with ASC and commit to direct hiring if they require casual, short term labour in the future, rather than using labour hire.


Now, head up the road to BAE Systems where the contractor of choice is Randstad and we have another issue where the Randstad-employed fabricator/welders and fitters are getting $5 an hour more than the Randstad electricians on site. This was due to the fact that Randstad couldn’t fill the requirements for fabbie/welders and fitters for the rates that were being offered, so the company decided to up the rates for those trades and forgot about the electricians already on site.

I first learnt of this in September 2019 and immediately contacted BAE Systems and Randstad to get it sorted. You see, the issue is not only the fact that there was a $5/hour difference between electricians and black trades, but Randstad electricians were being paid $3.19/hour less than the fourth year apprentices, who they had to supervise and mentor as part of their responsibilities as tradespeople. Even worse if the apprentice was mature age, as even the third year mature age apprentices were on a higher rate than their labour hire tradies. And to make it worse, these labour hire tradies don’t accrue annual leave, sick leave or any other perks that are usually compensated by a 25% casual loading. How this came to be, we will never know as whoever let this decision through would not want their incompetence uncovered.

After many discussions, moving further up the ranks of BAE Systems, I am happy to say that late last week BAE Systems offered 2 of the last 3 Randstad electricians full time jobs and have agreed to sort out the rates before using labour hire again. Unfortunately this meant one member not making the cut, however we will be working with him to get him working ASAP.

ETU 2 : Labour Hire 0

- Mark Mocerino

WA Shipbuilding & Rail Organiser 



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