What is a fair and reasonable reward for the army of high-vis workers on government projects?

Here’s an article related to the latest on incomes and jobs in Melbourne Australia, one of the most livable cities in the world.

It appeared in the Herald Sun on Wednesday September 19th, 2018 on page 24 and appears under the section called OPINION, which I’m thinking is the opinion of the editor of the Herald Sun, could be wrong and happy to stand corrected.

Anyway, I think it’s a great article because of all the stats and a number of different perspectives depending on how you look at things.

In the end I learnt a long time ago that when you have a job your dreams are limited to income but when you have the right type of business your income is limited by your dreams.

So the article goes on to say…

The cost of paying building workers on two of Victoria’s flagship infrastructure projects an average of $150,000 will ultimately be met from the public purse.

The generous wages, site allowances and overtime benefits — which dwarf a police constable’s pay of $69,849 — will be paid for through higher or longer-lasting tolls on the West Gate Tunnel and will be reflected in higher train fares or tax takes for the Metro Tunnel.

There is no such thing as a free ride when it comes to big projects built in so-called “public private partnerships”. Private investors demand lucrative returns when those projects have been completed.

But the price of construction in Victoria has long been higher than in many comparable cities. When major public projects are on the drawing board, there is every attempt to make hay while the sun shines.

Last year, the International Construction Costs survey ranked Melbourne 14th in the world for expense. Topping the list was New York, followed by Hong Kong, Geneva and London.

What is a fair and reasonable reward for the army of high-vis workers on government projects?

To what extent are contractors on government tenders forced to bend to union demands to ensure they deliver the projects on time and on budget?

Industry analysts, using unit measures, place Melbourne in the top half of international cities for construction expense.

The latest Arcadis International Construction Costs report ranks Melbourne as the 21st most expensive of 50 cities, in the same band as Paris, Dallas and Brussels.

But Arcadis warned that “as Melbourne continues to move through its ‘boom’ cycle … labour cost pressures are continuing to increase within both the infrastructure and property construction sectors, and we expect
that this overall situation will worsen over the next 12–18 months.”

Even more pointedly, Arcadis stated: ”This is potentially a larger problem for government projects. By their very nature, governments are less price-sensitive than the private sector, as they can fund higher wage bills out of consolidated revenues.

However, increases in labour costs for public sector projects will have an adverse impact on the private sector, potentially making some projects unaffordable to build.”

The reasons are pretty clear.

Unions such as the Australian Workers’ Union and the Construction Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union can corral their membership and demand significant pay and add-on entitlements for major civil projects.

Unions play a vital role, insisting on compliance in safe work practices in the construction sector. With seven tragic deaths this year in Victoria, there must be greater vigilance in ensuring compliance.

There is little dispute that construction work can be dangerous: Safe Work Australia ranks construction as the third most deadly industry, behind transport and agriculture.

CFMMEU secretary John Setka was celebrating the $150,000 average wage revealed in yesterday’s Herald Sun, saying it was a result of strong union membership, and reflected challenging working conditions.

But surely there must be some parity?

The average full-time Victorian wage is $83,000, a graduate teacher earns $67,000, and a police constable $69,849.

A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work has been a union motto since the 19th century.

It’s now a huge wage for a fair day’s work.

What’s your opinion????

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