THE total sum of penalties imposed on the CFMMEU has ticked over the $1.1 million mark for this financial year.
It follows another round of fines for the recidivist law-breaking union’s antics after being recently hit with more than $300,000 in fines.
AMMA continues to welcome the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) persisting with actively investigating and prosecuting breaches of the country’s workplace laws.
The CFMMEU’s contempt for Australia’s workplace laws was this time the subject of penalties as the Federal Court ordered the union and seven of its officers to pay penalties totalling $313,000 for their unlawful conduct against a number of concreting companies at construction sites in Sydney in 2014 and 2015.
The Federal Court found the CFMMEU and senior officers, including former NSW State Secretary Brian Parker; Assistant State Secretary Robert Kera and organiser Luke Collier took action against a group of concreting companies to coerce them to make an enterprise agreement with the union.
In addition, the Court found the CFMMEU and its officers had contravened right of entry laws by hindering and obstructing workers and acting in an improper manner.
At a meeting on 5 June 2014 CFMMEU official Darren Taylor threatened to “smash” the jobs of one of the subcontractors so the other contractors would “know what is coming”. Mr Taylor told the subcontractors if they didn’t sign an agreement with the CFMMEU it would “pick one of you and come after you”.
Following the meeting CFMMEU Assistant Secretary Robert Kera sent a threatening text message reading “Eenie meenie miney mo!” to a contractor who had attended the meeting.
Mr Kera and Mr Parker participated in a blockade of the Wolli Creek Site on 16 March 2015. The Court found Mr Kera exercised a degree of control or supervision over other persons participating in the blockade on that day. Mr Kera also participated in a further blockade of the site on 17 March 2015.
“The conduct… evidences a continuing commitment on the part of the CFMEU to pursue its industrial objectives by unlawful means and a continuing commitment to pay such penalties as are imposed as but the “cost of doing business”,” Justice Flick said in his judgment.
ABC Commissioner Stephen McBurney said the case was another example of the CFMMEU disregarding safety and threatening the livelihood of contractors and subcontractors in order to achieve their industrial objectives.
“The fact that the CFMMEU’s most senior officials were actively involved in unlawful conduct in this case is a cause for grave concern and justifies the making of an order for a public advertisement,” Mr McBurney said.
“The penalty imposed today brings total penalties imposed on the CFMMEU to over $1.1 million this financial year. Penalties imposed on the CFMMEU since 2 December 2016 now total $8,181,315.
“Every dollar the CFMMEU pays in fines comes out of the pockets of their members. It is time for the CFMMEU to respect the rule of law and the rights of all building industry participants.”
These cases highlight why it is crucial the ABCC remains in place to ensure building and construction industry participants’ compliance with Australia’s workplace laws.
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.
For more information contact [email protected]