More fines have been imposed on the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) for its bullying of business and employees.

The CFMMEU’s recidivist law-breaking behaviour was again the subject of penalties as the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) continued to actively prosecute workplace law breaches.

The Federal Court last week penalised the CFMMEU $81,600 for the conduct of Assistant Secretary, Jim O’Connor, and a site delegate for attempting to coerce a subcontractor to terminate a worker and replace him with a union office holder at the Royal Adelaide Hospital site in 2014.

The CFMMEU was penalised $71,400 and the site delegate Mr Merkx $10,200 for the conduct. The Court had previously penalised Assistant State Secretary Jim O’Connor $12,000 for his conduct at the site after he was found in contempt of court for breaching an earlier injunction.

The Federal Court found that in May 2014, the site delegate, Mr Jack Merkx approached a subcontractor at the project on at least three occasions and demanded that the subcontractor terminate a worker because he would not join the union.

Mr Merkx and Mr O’Connor then met with the subcontractor and demanded to know why the CFMEU office holder had not been found a job.

In his penalty judgement, Justice Besanko said “there is no evidence of contrition and, in fact, the respondents sought to downplay the seriousness of the threat”.

ABC Commissioner Stephen McBurney said the “the union officials showed complete disregard for the rights of the worker”, and that “any worker must have a right to choose to join or not join a union”.

It follows only last month the CFMMEU racking up almost $1 million in penalties in a single week.

As a consistent supporter of the ABCC since it was first recommended by the Cole Royal Commission in 2003, AMMA recently provided input into a review of the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 (BCIIP Act), reiterating industry’s support for the regulator’s retention.

Further, AMMA continues to support the passage of the “Ensuring Integrity Bill“, which contains various measures seeking to lift the standards, behaviours and transparency of all registered organisations including trade unions and registered employer groups.

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