[size=150]Laundry staff can earn more than $420k a year on offshore construction projects[/size]
LAUNDRY hands and cooks employed on offshore construction projects will potentially earn more than $420,000 a year, according to employers who claim the extraordinary rates will have a flow-on impact on mainland resources projects.
New analysis by the Australian Mines and Metals Association finds the most recent wage agreement registered for offshore construction workers contains maximum annual pay packages for a four-week-on, two-week-off rostered employee of $423,000 for a laundry hand; $445,000 for a cook; $450,000 for a tradesperson; and $498,000 for a barge welder, The Australian reports.
If the employee works a three-week-on, three-week-off roster for a year, the AMMA said, the maximum remuneration was $317,734 for a laundry hand; $334,408 for a cook; $337,484 for a tradesperson; and $373,701 for a barge welder.
Steve Knott, the association’s chief executive, said the pay rates were a “worrying precedent”, particularly for Queensland employers competing for a dearth of skilled workers.
“There is a very real risk to resource employers. As offshore rates and allowances flow across to the onshore construction sector, many projects will face the risk of significant wage blowouts,” Mr Knott said. "I think most fair-minded people would start to think something is fundamentally wrong when a barge welder earns more than the Prime Minister, whose salary is $350,000.
“And Queensland’s Chief Justice, Paul de Jersey, on $395,000, is only earning slightly more than a ship’s laundry hand or cook.”
The Minister for Workplace Relations, Chris Evans, said last night the AMMA raised concerns at high wage settlements on new projects by its members in the offshore oil and gas sector last September.
“In today’s specific examples, they acknowledge that these rates were agreed to by the companies concerned,” a spokesman for Senator Evans said. “This sector has always paid rates well in excess of those applying in other industries.” The spokesman said the “current Fair Work framework restricts the likelihood of any flow-on of offshore oil and gas agreements to other sectors”.
The pay rates cited by the association are from agreements at four major offshore projects.
Many workers would not work on a project for an entire year, or be eligible for all the allowances listed in the agreements.
But Mr Knott said the “enormous scale” of projects being contemplated in Western Australia and Queensland would require construction periods, in some cases, of 18 months to two years.