Labour tests key issue in trade deal: ACTU

UNION officials have told an inquiry into the China free trade agreement their chief concern was the lack of labour-market testing on major projects before firms could hire Chinese workers.

Australian Council of Trade Unions' Scott Connolly said the tests, which have been in place since 2013, were needed to ensure Australians got the first chance to work on new projects.

But when Sunshine Coast MP and Treaties Committee chairman Wyatt Roy asked if mandatory labour testing would alleviate union concerns, Mr Connolly said it would depend on how it was done.

"We say what is unclear is its enforceability," Mr Connolly said.

While unions have launched a campaign warning of the trade deals affects on workers, the government plans to press ahead with the deal sealed in June.

Labor leader Bill Shorten has said he could not support the deal unless developers were forced to complete labour market testing.

Topics:  china free trade agreement labour union

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