Unions slam state guidelines for builders

Unions have slammed draft guidelines for construction companies engaged on taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects as an attack on workers' rights.

The NSW government guidelines, released on Thursday, address freedom of association, industrial action, and safety on state government construction projects.

The O'Farrell government says the guidelines are needed to stop cost blowouts on major infrastructure projects, but the president of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), Rita Mallia, said the draft represented a political attack on workers' rights.

The draft banned union safety representatives from running site inductions and allowed employers to refuse to negotiate with unions over workers' pay, Ms Mallia said.

She also said the guidelines would allow more casual labour to be used.

"The Liberal government is creating a society where construction workers are second class citizens with no right to permanent employment," Ms Mallia said in a statement.

Premier Barry O'Farrell said he would not allow "cosy unions deals to push up the cost of building infrastructure".

"In these tight economic circumstances, it's vital infrastructure funds are well spent, achieve value for money for taxpayers and create more job opportunities," Mr O'Farrell said in a statement.

"The infrastructure challenge in NSW is too great to waste a single cent."

Treasurer Mike Baird said higher wage costs on state infrastructure projects would hurt the broader economy.

Mr Baird said if wage costs on NSW's infrastructure pipeline increased by two per cent, it would result in 8200 fewer jobs.

"That's not a risk worth taking," he said.

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