11 October 2013CFMEU & BLF penalised $55k for Brisbane strikes in FWBC case

Fair Work Building & Construction (FWBC) has secured a $55,500 penalty against the CFMEU and Builders’ Labourers’ Federation (BLF) for directing workers to strike on three Brisbane projects managed by Laing O’Rourke Australia Construction Pty Ltd (LORA).

The Federal Circuit Court at Brisbane yesterday endorsed the facts and penalties agreed to between the parties. The CFMEU and BLF admitted to contravening s38 of the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 on 19 and 20 November 2010.

The unions admitted that:

  • At 9.20am on 19 November 2010, two organisers employed by the CFMEU and BLF attended LORA’s Multi Level Car Park site at Brisbane Airport and directed 86 employees to strike for the remainder of the day. Most of the employees also failed to attend work the following day;
  • At 12.15pm on 19 November 2010, a CFMEU organiser attended LORA’s building site at 123 Albert Street, Brisbane and directed 20 employees to strike for the remainder of the day. Most also failed to turn up to work the following day and
  • At 12.15pm on 19 November 2010, the State Secretary of the BLF attended LORA’s Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre site with two other CFMEU/BLF organisers and directed 42 employees to strike for the rest of the day. The employees continued their strike the following day.

As a result of these strikes, the car park project was delayed by one and a half days, the Albert Street project was delayed by two days, and the convention centre project was delayed by two and a half days. All the employees returned to work on Monday, 22 November 2010.

The Court took into account that the stoppages were orchestrated to disrupt three sites operated by LORA on the same days and the State Secretary of the BLF was involved in organising the industrial action.

Unlawful industrial action will not be tolerated on Australian construction sites. As the standalone regulator of workplace relations in the construction industry, it is FWBC’s role to investigate allegations of unlawful industrial action and it will take civil penalty action if warranted to discourage similar behaviour in the future.

 

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