THE Federal Court has ordered the CFMEU and six of its Victorian organisers to pay penalties totalling $230,000 after admitting to 14 breaches of the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 (BCII Act) constituting coercive action against Abigroup in 2010.

In the case brought on by the Fair Work Building Construction (FWBC) inspectorate, the respondents admitted to an unlawful campaign of strikes and coercion against Abigroup to pressure the builder to employ particular CFMEU members on the Peninsula Link road project.

This campaign involved strikes and blockades on the major Pensinula Link project, as well as strikes on the Southern Link Upgrade project and 11 nearby sites where building work was being conducted at schools.

The Court ruled these publically-funded projects were unnecessarily delayed as a result of the CFMEU’s tactics.

The union and its representatives admitted to directing workers to strike and blockade the entrances to the Peninsula Link site on Cranbourne-Frankston Road and the Seaford Compound as well as Southern Link Upgrade (SLU) on Glenferrie Road on 31 August 2010.

On 26 October 2010, they again directed workers to strike on the SLU site as well as several school sites on the following day – Tooradin Primary School, Mt Eliza North Primary School, Derinya Primary School, Dromana Primary School and Truganina South Primary School.

In the third incident, on 11 November 2010 the respondents directed workers to go on strike at the Peninsula Link site on Cranbourne-Frankston Road and several nearby Building Education Revolutions (BER) sites.

The CFMEU and six representatives admitted to nine breaches of s43 of the BCII Act for attempting to coerce Abigroup to employ particular people and five breaches of s38 of the BCII Act for engaging in unlawful industrial action.

The court endorsed penalties of $155,000 for the CFMEU and $75,000 collectively for the six representatives.