Master Builders Association of Victoria  has reiterated calls to reform the Fair Work regime and re-introduce an industry-specific watchdog to deal with the rise in union disruptions.

The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal that industrial disputes continue to plague the construction industry, with the number of working days lost reaching a seven-year high. There were 85 days lost per 1000 employees in 2012 throughout the sector, a rise of 25% on the previous year.

Industrial Relations Manager, Lawrie Cross observes that productivity in the construction industry is being hurt by rampant union action such as what was seen at Melbourne’s Emporium construction site and the Little Creatures brewery site in Geelong. He adds that the number of working days lost in the industry has exploded eight-fold under Federal Labour’s watch.

Mr Cross pointed out that reforms to the industrial relations laws have opened the floodgate for construction unions to revert to their old playbook tactics of fear and intimidation. Though days lost to industrial disputes in the construction industry are now at their highest point since 2005, the Federal Government has vacated the field in holding unions to account.

Losing valuable working days costs the industry millions of dollars, and also results in lengthy delays and cost blowout to many construction projects. Mr Cross called for the legal framework to be strengthened to prevent union leaders from acting outside the law.