17 August 2015CFMEU’s Parker & Hanlon allegedly unlawfully enter Specialist School site & try to recruit members

CFMEU NSW State Secretary Brian Parker and Assistant State Secretary Rebel Hanlon are facing Federal Circuit Court action after they allegedly used unfounded immigration and superannuation concerns to get on site and sign up workers to the CFMEU. “We want the Chinese to stop,” Mr Parker allegedly said about workers of Chinese origin who were employed on the site, after telling a project manager to “do what I f**king say”.

FWBC is alleging that in August of last year, Mr Hanlon attended the Ponds School project in NSW and told workers to stop work and go to the sheds. The taxpayer funded project worth an estimated $65 million, involves the construction of three new schools, including a school for students with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities.

Mr Hanlon allegedly told the newly inducted workers that they must join the union and handed them CFMEU membership forms.

While onsite, Mr Hanlon requested a copy of the site induction records, allegedly telling the site health and safety coordinator that the records were needed to investigate an issue related to one of the site contractors not paying superannuation to its workers. It is alleged that Mr Hanlon removed the records from the site after they were given to him. FWBC also alleges that Mr Parker provided the records to Channel Nine’s “A Current  Affair” television programme.

An investigation conducted by the site’s head contractor found this claim to be unsubstantiated and the union dropped the issue. On August 12, 2014, an episode of “A Current Affair”, appeared to show Mr Parker showing the induction records to the production crew.

Days later, Mr Hanlon and Mr Parker allegedly attended the site and requested that the project manager round up all workers on the site for a meeting as, according to the union officials, a contractor was not paying workers and was engaging illegal workers. When the project manager asked Mr Parker to provide his right of entry notice, Mr Parker allegedly replied, while puffing out his chest: “Do you understand who I am and what my position is, if you don’t get the workers together I’m going to do it.” “You will do what I f**king say, don’t f**k me around.”

Addressing up to 30 gathered form workers and bricklayers, Mr Parker allegedly asked the workers for a resolution that should Mr Parker and Mr Hanlon need support to resolve issues with the contractor, that the gathered workers would “pull up the job,” and “If we can get a resolution off you, I’m going to let youse go back to wor. But if we need to stop work on the job until we sort it out, and say to them, the guys are back to work, but we want the Chinese to stop, and we want go through all the issues related to what I said today.”

Mr Parker then allegedly ordered the workers to “Go back to work and if we need to pull it up, we will pull it up.” A Department of Immigration investigation found no substance to Mr Parker’s claims.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said allegations of union officials unlawfully entering a site and then trying to sign up members were very serious. “Under law all building industry participants have a right to be or not be a member of a union or employer association,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

The maximum penalties available to the Court in this case are $10,200 for an individual, and $51,000 for a union per breach. A directions hearing is scheduled for 4 September 2015 in the Federal Circuit Court. More information can be found in the media backgrounder.

PDF icon Media release - CFMEUS Parker Hanlon allegedly unlawfully enter specialist school site and try to recruit members.pdf