The FWC has rejected arguments that the CFMEU engaged in pattern bargaining during negotiations over agreements with two crane operators, clearing the path for indefinite strikes to begin early this morning.
The CFMMEU is negotiating short-term enterprise agreements with some employers so that it can pursue more beneficial deals if there is a change in the "legislative industrial climate", the Fair Work Commission has been told.
Union calls for a return to industry-wide bargaining to boost workers' earnings have won the backing of the OECD, which says in its annual global employment report that negotiations across industry sectors can lead to "lower wage inequality".
The Greens intend to use their leverage in the Senate to press a future Federal Labor Government to permit industry-wide bargaining, enshrine the right to strike and remove restrictions on agreement content.
The Turnbull Government has blasted a major builder that negotiated a precedent-setting enterprise agreement with the CFMEU as being "highly unrepresentative" of the construction industry, describing the deal as an act of "commercial self-harm".
Master Builders Association Victoria and the CFMEU's state branch have squared off following union claims that more than 100 employers have signed three-year pattern agreements, pre-empting the proposed new national construction code.
The Turnbull Government granted FWBC director Nigel Hadgkiss new powers soon before calling the federal election, in a bid to stop builders and contractors agreeing to "union-friendly" clauses in enterprise agreements.