Older workers can do green jobs on site

There should be quotas of “mature-age” workers introduced on major government building projects in recognition of the gruelling and job threatening effect physical work can have over a working lifetime, the Australian construction union CFMEU has said.

 The union says good use could be made of older workers skills in “recycling and sustainability” and other less physical jobs. The CFMEU campaign was unveiled this week at the union’s national conference.

 Dave Noonan, the national secretary of the union’s construction division, said: “The days of mature-age workers being thrown out like broken toys must end as part of the resolution to tackle the demographic time bomb, but also as a matter of social justice.”

Mr Noonan said many of the jobs once reserved for mature-age building workers, such as gatemen, traffic controllers and hoist drivers, were being taken by labour-hire employees and backpackers. 

“Many mature-age workers could be involved in job planning, training younger workers, ensuring sites are safe, recycling and sustainability,” he said. “What we need is to ensure that a job in construction is a career for life and not one that is terminated as soon as a worker turns 50.”

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