Plumbers pay up to keep workers
MINERS are raiding the ranks of plumbers, but employers are fighting back with above-award wages with ongoing training and development creating a rewarding career path, the state’s peak industry body says.
Master Plumbers Association of Queensland executive director Adrian Hart conceded it was “very difficult, almost intractable” to compete with the mining industry.
The MPAQ is lobbying Construction Skills Queensland to provide incentives for employers to take on apprentices.
“We have members in Central Queensland who are very good employers and they retain their employees through ongoing training and development and providing them with continuous employment,” he said.
“They have to pay well over award rate to retain their services, but they don’t compete solely on prices because there are disincentives in the mining industry, such as travel, but it is a challenge.”
Mr Hart said the industry had been in the doldrums, but was on an upswing and needed to lure more workers to the profession.
The flooding and natural disaster that besieged Queensland over summer had resulted in a surge of emergency and repair work, particularly for the 12 registered plumbers in Emerald.
“There was a huge amount of work that needed to be done urgently and plumbers and gas fitters were involved in ensuring health and safety was maintained, and to quickly assess the sewerage situation to ensure adequate safeguards were put in place,” Mr Hart said, before he addressed local plumbers in a forum last week.
“What a lot of people don’t realise is plumbing is, by and large, health and safety. Without clean drinking water and effective elimination of waste you’re in a third world country,” he said.
“The plumbing industry didn’t learn anything from the floods it didn’t already know.”