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31 Aug 2023

Australia: Elecnor to pay lower migrant wages under Agreement for renewables project already facing alleged underpayment, safety breaches & union-busting; co. did not respond

In August 2023, the Australian Electrical Trades Union (ETU) raised concerns regarding a Labour Migration Agreement with the federal government obtained by Elecnor Australia’s subsidiary Green Light Contractors’. Under the agreement, Green Light Contractors will bring 400 temporary migrant workers into the country for a renewable energy transmission infrastructure project at wages A$10 lower than the current subcontracted workforce. The press release also alleges the company has obstructed union efforts to meet with workers as well as underpayments, and health and safety breaches on the project.

This is the very definition of rewarding bad employer behaviour. It is a kick in the guts to everyone who believes in workplace decency. This country was built on migrant labour, but migration of this scale should be permanent and the workers must have the capacity to enforce the same rights and receive the same pay as Australian citizens and employers who want to access migrant labour must first demonstrate a commitment to training local Australian workers. We have genuine concerns about the safety of these workers and the Labour Migration Agreement does not mitigate the Union’s concerns.
Allen Hicks, ETU NSW Secretary

In August 2023, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Spanish infrastructure giant Elecnor to respond to a press release from the Australian Electrical Trades Union (ETU). The company did not respond to the Resource Centre's request for comment.