Job loss builders payout call

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A building company owner says he wants to help workers who lose their jobs to foreign unskilled workers prepared to work for a small wage, writes McKenzie Morgan.

A new strategy of implementing bigger redundancy packages to help workers financially when they lose their jobs is becoming a reality, says a commercial builder in Melbourne.

Mitch Crawford, a building company owner, says he wants to help workers who lose their jobs to foreign unskilled workers prepared to work for a small wage.

“For both skilled and unskilled tradesmen, my company is giving them a bigger redundancy package if they lose their job,” he says. “It provides them with more security when they sign on.”

Mr Crawford says it is important for builders to look after their workers, saying that job security is something that comes and goes in the construction industry.

“Not every job can last forever, it’s important that we implement strategies to make workers more comfortable in case they have to be let go,” he said.
Rhys Byrns, a Melbourne plumber, says that if a commercial building company offered him a higher redundancy payout in his contract he would be very happy.

“Everyone thinks about the possibility of losing their job, especially with it becoming so common now,” Mr Byrns says. “If my company came to me and said they were going to give me a higher redundancy package in my payout, I would be over the moon.”

Mr Byrns says he knows many people who have been let go by their companies so that the company can hire cheaper labor. “It’s disappointing that people get let go, but that is why a payout is important, it’s bound to happen with some companies,” Mr Byrns says.

Mark Deaves, 26, says recent growth in the construction industry means many unskilled tradesmen like himself are struggling to find work or are being fired as companies bring in employees willing to work for a much cheaper rate.

Mr Deaves lost his job when his company cut costs and hired unskilled workers cheaply but he didn’t get a higher redundancy package.

“These companies just let you go. We get a payout, but it only lasts so long and now we are trying to find jobs with companies who are doing the same thing as our last one,” Mr Deaves says.

David Graham, a Melbourne construction business owner, says that he feels for people like Mr Deaves, but says it’s part of the industry now.

“As builders, we are always looking to increase our profit margins, sometimes looking at hiring cheaper labor is the way to do that,” Mr Graham says.

Mr Crawford says working is the priority for Melbourne construction workers, but if they are left without a job, they need to carefully choose their next employer.

“Obviously everyone wants to be in a job,” Mr Crawford says. “But if you are left without a job, it’s important that you don’t just rush into one and try and find one that will look after you.”