UnionsWA today commented on the release by the Fair Work Ombudsman of an audit of WA, SA and NT residential building industry apprentices showing that half of the randomly selected employers in WA failed to comply with pay requirements.
Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA said:
"This audit of apprentice pay is just sickening.
“Building employers in Perth, Broome, Bunbury, Busselton, Denmark, Pinjarra and Rockingham were found to be in breach of pay requirements resulting in 49 apprentices having to be back-paid a total of $41,766.
“These are very poorly paid young apprentices.
“This is worse than a rip-off of young apprentices, WA needs skilled workers in the future to meet our housing needs and make housing more affordable.
“The most recent data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research shows that construction trade apprentice number are falling in WA – in 2008 there were 5, 400 apprentices, in 2013 this has fallen by a third to 3,600.
“This fall in construction apprentices had occurred at a time of rapid growth in WA’s population, worsening housing affordability and pressure from employers to use more temporary overseas labour.
“UnionsWA is calling on employer groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA and the Master Builders Association of WA to work harder to stop such dodgy employers – they give all employers a bad name, they harm apprentices and put future skills at risk.
“Apprentices or their parents, who believe they are being ripped off or fear raising concerns with their employers are urged to call the Australian Unions help desk on 1300 486 466.”
The Fair Work Ombudsman Report ‘WA/SA/NT residential building industry apprentices and trainees campaign 2013’ is available at:
Figures quoted above on apprentices in WA are drawn from the latest National Centre for Vocational Education Research online publication ‘Apprentices and Trainees – March 2013’ (under the data tab ‘State and Territory data’) http://www.ncver.edu.au/publications/2654.html