Challenging the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) to do better in their treatment of women on building sites is important, and couldn’t be timelier in celebrating International Women’s Day, according to Wilhelm Harnisch, CEO of Master Builders Australia.
Harnish says the Heydon Royal Commission, and other recent cases, uncovered evidence of CFMEU officials bullying women on construction sites.
“The aggressive and abusive approach taken by union officials against women on building sites is another feature of the underlying toxic culture of the CMFEU,” Harnisch says.
“Incidents at Barangaroo, for example, are one of many where union officials’ behaviour is deliberately intimidating and calculated to belittle and scare female inspectors of Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC),” Harnisch says.
“Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC) director Nigel Hadkiss told a recent hearing of the Senate Estimates Committee that such behaviour against women by union officials is commonplace throughout the industry.
“These are regrettable examples of the CFMEU’s attitude to women on construction sites.
“This behaviour is not tolerated in the home, it’s not tolerated in the community nor can it be tolerated on building sites,” Harnisch says.
The CFMEU has a National Women’s Committee that was established in 2010 with the aim of enhancing understanding of equity issues facing women in all sectors covered by the CMFEU. They also offer links to other sites of interest for women in trades, which include:
- CFMEU Forestry & Furnishing Products Division: Moving Women into Forestry Project
- CFMEU Mining & Energy Division: Women in Industry
- Plumbers Union QLD: Women in Plumbing
- CPSISC Construction My Career: Women in the Industry
- The National Association of Women in Construction: NAWIC