Applications to Fair Work Commission (FWC) following right of entry penalty matters

During 2014 to 15, FWBC was successful in obtaining penalties totalling $357,700 in two South Australian Federal Court matters. Subsequently to these decisions, FWBC made applications to the FWC to revoke or suspend the permits of all 12 union officials involved in the two matters.

In the first matter (DFWBII v Aaron Cartledge & Ors [2014] FCA 1047) Justice Mansfield said ‘The CFMEU has a significant history of non-compliance with the provisions of industrial legislation…I have remarked upon the fact that each of the individual respondents’ conduct indicates that each (with the exception of Stephenson) simply did not care about complying with the entry provisions.’

In the second matter (DFWBII v Stephenson & Ors [2014] FCA 1432), Justice White described the officials’ behaviour as ‘coordinated and strategic’ and described the CFMEU’s record in the courts as ‘dismal’.

In total, seven of the 12 union officials from these two matters had their permits revoked or suspended for a cumulative period of 43 months.

CFMEU officials from SA (Aaron Cartledge, Michael McDermott, Anthony Jarrett, Jim O’Connor, David Bolton & Luke Stephenson), VIC (Brendan Pitt & John Perkovic – Mr Perkovic, whose permit was revoked and who was banned from reapplying for a permit until 17 January 2017, has appealed the FWC decision), ACT (Anthony Vitler), NSW (Anthony Sloane), NT (Michael Huddy) and WA (Troy Smart) had their permits either suspended or revoked or no longer hold a permit.

Submissions on Permit Application – Kane Pearson [2014]

FWCFB 6497

On 22 September 2014, the FWC Full Bench dismissed an appeal by the CFMEU against a decision not to issue an entry permit to its official Kane Pearson.

Mr Pearson was refused an entry permit because he had shown a ‘demonstrable lack of regard for the provisions of industrial legislation, particularly as it pertains to the statutory right of entry regime’. It was found Mr Pearson’s conduct was ‘compounded’ by the fact he was an Assistant Branch Secretary at the time of some of the contravening conduct.

Mr Pearson had previously been found by the Courts to have engaged in unlawful conduct on four separate occasions between 2009 and 2011. Mr Pearson was ordered to personally pay penalties in three of those cases.

The Full Bench dismissed the appeal, holding that Mr Pearson was not a fit and proper person to hold an entry permit.

Submissions on Permit Application – Tony Mavromatis [2015]

FWC 1843

On 16 April 2015, a Senior Deputy President of the FWC refused to issue an entry permit to Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) Assistant State Secretary Tony Mavromatis as a result of his previous contraventions of industrial laws. FWBC had submitted that Mr Mavromatis was not a fit and proper person to hold a permit.

The FWC took into account the decision of Williams v AMWU, concerning the West Gate Bridge dispute, where the AMWU was penalised $298,000 for eight separate contraventions resulting from unlawful conduct which Mr Mavromatis engaged in or organised. In addition, penalties totalling $27,000 had been personally imposed on Mr Mavromatis for four contraventions.

In refusing Mr Mavromatis an entry permit, the FWC observed that his previous behaviour had ‘no place in contemporary workplace relations’ and ‘indicated a contempt for the law and for the proper standards of conduct’.

On 7 May 2015, the AMWU filed an appeal against the decision. As at 30 June 2015, the appeal has not been heard.

Submissions on Permit Application – Michael Ravbar [2015]

FWC 2158

On 13 April 2015, a Deputy President of the FWC issued an entry permit to Mr Michael Ravbar, the Divisional Branch Secretary of the CFMEU Queensland and Northern Territory Branch. FWBC made submissions opposing an entry permit being issued to Mr Ravbar.

FWBC submitted the FWC should take into account, not only those penalties that were based upon Mr Ravbar’s own conduct, but also those penalties that resulted from the conduct of other officials of the Divisional Branch overseen by Mr Ravbar. The FWC refused to take those other penalties, which totalled more than $900,000, into account.

On 4 May 2015, FWBC lodged an appeal against the decision. As of 30 June 2015, FWBC’s appeal has not been heard.

Submissions on Permit Application – Peter Mooney [2015]

FWC 1522

On 1 April 2014, a Delegate of the FWC refused to issue an entry permit to Mr Peter Mooney because he had demonstrated a ‘disregard for the provisions of industrial legislation’. Mr Mooney had broken industrial laws on four previous separate occasions between 2004 and 2010.

An appeal lodged by the CEPU was dismissed by a FWC Full Bench on 7 July 2014.

The CEPU made a second permit application for Mr Mooney on 21 July 2014 and FWBC again made submissions opposing the issue of an entry permit to Mr Mooney.

On 19 March 2015, a Vice President of the FWC issued an entry permit to Mr Mooney subject to certain conditions. The conditions require him to undertake right of entry training on annual basis and inform the FWC of any penalties imposed or proceedings commenced against him.

FWBC appealed the decision and a Full Bench of the FWC heard the appeal on 22 May 2015. As at 30 June 2015, the appeal decision was reserved.

Submissions on Permit Application – Tim Jarvis and Andrew Temoho [2014]

FWCFB 7154 & FWCFB 7194

On 30 June 2014, a Delegate of the FWC issued entry permits with conditions to Mr Tim Jarvis and Mr Andrew Temoho. FWBC had made submissions opposing the issue of the entry permits because of previous unlawful conduct engaged in by both officials.

FWBC appealed against the decision of the Delegate to the Full Bench of the FWC.

On 21 October 2014 the Full Bench upheld FWBC’s appeals, quashed the Delegate’s decisions and revoked both entry permits. The Full Bench found the reasons given by the Delegate for imposing conditions were in ‘conflict’ with the reasons the Delegate gave for issuing the permits and demonstrated the Delegate had failed to take into account a relevant consideration.

The entry permit applications were referred to a Deputy President of the FWC to rehear and determine, and were reheard on 17 February 2015. As at 30 June 2015, the decision was reserved.