The construction union, E tū says it is working to clarify the effect of Fletcher Building and Interiors’ huge loss on its members at Fletchers as well as the wider industry.
“We’re still coming to terms with the fact that the country’s biggest building company is no longer bidding for new commercial projects which is just extraordinary,” says Ron Angel, E tū’s Industry Coordinator, Engineering and Infrastructure.
“We’re trying to confirm the facts of what happens next, but we will have members affected by this though it’s unclear yet how many,” he says.
Ron says union organisers had this morning visited Fletcher sites in Christchurch office, where members had been told to expect closure once work is finished on company projects including the city’s Justice and Emergency Services Precinct.
“In the immediate term, we’ll be looking to protect our members’ interests and we hope if there are redundancies that our members can be redeployed in other Fletcher divisions. Some will be entitled to redundancy pay; others won’t.”
Ron says the union had also spoken with members about the factors behind the near-$1 billion loss.
“In part, this is a result of too many people in head office doing the paperwork and pushing up overheads, and too few people on the ground doing the work,” says Ron.
He says a lack of experience in project management also meant a lot of mistakes especially on the Justice precinct project.
“Our members have told us that 50 percent of that project was built twice.
“The guys say they’d put stuff up and a week later they’d be pulling it down again because the design changed or there were design faults, cracked tiles and the like. And there was too little supervision, with no one taking responsibility for the quality of the work.”
Poor cost control had also been flagged by the division’s retiring Chair, Sir Ralph Norris.
Ron says the loss is “a salutary indictment of the sub-contracting model which is killing the construction industry in New Zealand.
“It means Fletchers has been unable to control costs and quality on these big projects and the result is just gobsmacking.”
For more information, contact:
Ron Angel E tū Industry Coordinator, Engineering and Infrastructure ph. 027 591 0055