WA tradies world’s highest paid

Western Australia is one of the best places to be a tradie or labourer, with workers earning up to four times those in other states and overseas.

According to new research, WA labourers working a 50 hour week can make $130 000 annually, while tradies in the UK and the US are only paid around $30 000 a year, the West Australian reports.

Unsurprisingly, Ryan Hathrill from Robert Walters recruitment pointed to the resources sector as the main driver for this labour boom.

WA is clearly one of the best, if not the best place in the world for a tradesman, where they can earn good coin and spend good coin," Hathrill told The West.

"The demand for tradesmen is very high because of overseas demand, particularly from China.

"If you consider these workers are working longer hours in remote, dangerous and expensive locations, then it only adds fuel to the wage inflation in this sector."

With such low pay in the US, many engineers, surveyors and tradies have already looked to Australia.

The Federal Government will be hosting expos in Houston, Texas, next month to look for workers to fill desperately needed mining shortages.

The Skills Australia Needs road show will also target US combat veterans and other workers struggling to find jobs in the ailing US economy.

After already benefitting from similar schemes aimed at Irish workers large companies like BHP Billiton and Chevron are strongly backing the move.

Skills Minister Chris Evans said temporary US workers were a "good fit" for Australian mining jobs because they spoke the same language and understood the work culture.

Yesterday, it was reported that FIFO ‘benchwarmers’ are spending two to 12 months at home earning $150 000 before they are needed on site.

It is believed that future projects may become unviable if wages continue to skyrocket.

Kim Richardson, from the Master Builders Association said unions had pushed wages too high with threats of strikes.

"The wages are a reflection of the ability of the construction unions to screw deals out of construction companies in the 1980s, 1990s and early noughties," he said.

"The only way for employers to settle disputes with the construction unions at the time was to pay up and try to buy industrial peace at premium rates."

The AMMA agreed, saying bitter union fights are already stalling major resources projects and shaking investor confidence.

In a submission to the Federal Government’s Fair Work Act review, the AMMA is pushing for unions to be excluded from negotiations on greenfield sites.

According to The Financial Review AMMA director Minna Knight said it was important the Government’s review looked at how to minimise the “bickering and turf wars” that took place between companies and unions.

“This sort of productivity-sapping behaviour is bad for all,” she said.

Knight said on occasions when unions made “reckless wage claims” or frustrated the agreement process, companies should be allowed to negotiate with workers through Fair Work Australia.

The AMMA said bitter negotiations with unions had on occasion wasted the valuable time of its members.

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