The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) continues its active investigation and prosecution of workplace law breaches, highlighting its important role in upholding compliance.
The ABCC has filed Federal Court proceedings against West Australian company Tyrone Construction Services Pty Ltd and one of its representatives over alleged unlawful pickets of the Perth-based building site known as ‘Skypark’ on 27 June and 1 August 2019.
The ABCC alleges the picketers prevented workers accessing the site, intimidated subcontractors while calling them “scabs!”, “traitors!” and “scumbags!” and were abusive towards a director of the head contractor, Welink.
In its statement of claim filed in the Federal Court, the ABCC alleges:
- On 27 June 2019, Tyrone Construction Services Pty Ltd representative, Alistair Adams organised the unlawful pickets, telephoned the Welink Site Manager and stated words to the effect:
“We are blockading the entrance on Carr and Vincent and we’re not leaving until we get paid.”
- A group of 12 to 20 individuals congregated in front of the Carr Place entry and a group of approximately 12 individuals at the Vincent Street entry, as to prevent or restrict access to the site.
- When the Welink site manager approached the group and said words to the effect:
Site manager: “I’m asking you to move out of the way to let the contractors in. What you are doing is unlawful.”
Member of the group: “No, we are not letting you in.”
- Approximately 22 subcontractors engaged by Welink to perform work on the Project were prevented or restricted in their access to the project site.
- As a result of this conduct, work did not commence on the site until 28 June 2019.
The ABCC also alleges on 1 August 2019:
- A group of 20 to 30 persons engaged in conduct, which included erecting a blue marquee on the footpath so as to block access to the Carr Place gates.
- A director of Welink was pushed away from the Carr Place gates by a group of individuals, stumbled against plastic chairs placed by the group and fell to the ground.
- As approximately 30 subcontractors entered the site, the group congregating in front of the Carr Place gates shouted words to the effect, “scabs!”, “traitors!” and “scumbags!” towards the subcontractors.
- As a result of this conduct, work did not commence on the site until sometime shortly after 9:30 am.
The ABCC alleges the conduct in the case contravenes the unlawful picketing provision of the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 (BCIIP Act).
The maximum penalty for each contravention of the BCIIP Act is $210,000 for a body corporate and $42,000 for an individual.
AMMA has long supported passage of the Ensuring Integrity Bill since it was first introduced in 2017. It remains one of eight workplace reform priorities identified for the 46th Parliament in AMMA’s policy booklet Pathway to Productivity.
AMMA will continue to advocate for the important measures within the Ensuring Integrity Bill that will considerably improve our nation’s industrial relations environment and promote greater compliance with industrial laws.