Abysmal history of non-compliance: Judge
In the latest demonstration of the CFMMEU’s recidivist law-breaking, the Federal Circuit Court has imposed total penalties of $35,700 against the union and its representative Mark O’Brien and former official Michael Myles.
The fines come after workers at a South Brisbane apartment site downed their tools in response to a visit by Queensland Government officers.
Hutchinson Builders was also penalised $1,200 for contravening strike pay provisions in the Fair Work Act after they made payments to each of their 10 employees who engaged in the unlawful industrial action.
The penalties follow an incident on 9 December 2013 where two inspectors from the Queensland Government’s then Building Construction Compliance Branch (BCCB) attended the $53 million Arena Apartment’s site to conduct an audit.
During the inspectors’ visit Mr Myles entered the site and directed a number of the employees to stop work and go to the lunch room.
In handing down the penalty judgment, Judge Jarrett said “it is clear the [CFMMEU] has an abysmal history of non-compliance with industrial laws”.
ABCC Commissioner Stephen McBurney said the decision sent a clear message that the courts will not tolerate unlawful behavior aimed at obstructing government officers conducting their duties.
“The unlawful industrial action organised by the CFMMEU was motivated by a deliberate attempt to hinder State Government officers from undertaking their duties,” Mr McBurney said.
“This industrial action had nothing to do with safety and resulted in workers’ pay being deducted. It is difficult to comprehend how the actions of the CFMMEU could be seen to advance the interests of the workers.
ABCC launches legal action against AMWU and two of its organisers for alleged threat on Melbourne site
Today the ABCC has also launched proceedings against the AMWU and two of its organisers after they allegedly threatened to shut down a Melbourne site unless the employer hired several workers.
It is alleged that AMWU organisers Zeljko Cimbora and Toby Paterson made the threat at the NewCold 1 site office on 17 October 2017.
In a statement of claim filed in the Federal Court in Melbourne, the ABCC alleges Mr Cimbora requested that NewCold employ several workers.
During the conversation, Mr Paterson said: “Are you going to hire these people, otherwise we are going to give you a lot of problems and shut you down.”
One of the NewCold managers replied: “Do you expect us to get rid of people we’ve employed, who are local Australian guys?”
Mr Cimbora replied: “Yes”
When the NewCold managers refused to agree to this demand, Mr Cimbora said: “Tomorrow morning we’re going to block all your gates. You won’t get any trucks in or out of this place. We’re going to make sure you get bad PR. We’re going to have the newspapers here, the radio here. We’re going to get the other unions involved, you’re going to have health and safety issues.”
The ABCC alleges the conduct in the case contravenes the coercion provision of the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 (BCIIP Act).
The maximum penalty for a breach of the BCIIP Act is $210,000 for bodies corporate and $42,000 for individuals.
AMMA welcomes the ABCC continuing with active investigation and prosecution of workplace law breaches.
As a consistent supporter of the ABCC since it was first recommended by the Cole Royal Commission in 2003, AMMA will be reiterating industry’s support for the regulator’s retention ahead of the 2019 Federal Election
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