CFMEU facing court for alleged action at Brisbane project for long-term homeless

Officer allegedly tells subbie it would be “industrial suicide” to bring workers on site

FWBC has launched proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against the CFMEU and five of its officers after work on the Brisbane Common Ground Project site was disrupted for seven days. The officers involved are Paul Cradden, Joseph Myles, Mark O’Brien, Mike Davis and Jack Cummins.

The Brisbane Common Ground Project was a Queensland government housing project intended to provide supportive housing for people who have experienced long-term homelessness. It is a 14 level building with 146 apartments.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said his agency is alleging the officers’ actions were intended to coerce head contractor Grocon to sign an enterprise agreement.

Mr Hadgkiss said FWBC was alleging very serious misconduct by the union, including union official Joseph Myles allegedly telling Grocon employees words to the effect: “You’ve all got a long time left in the industry, and we can influence your future jobs”.

When a sub-contractor asked: “What are the consequences to my business if I bring my boys on site?” FWBC alleges Paul Cradden responded: “You want to know what the consequences are? You would be committing industrial suicide”.

FWBC is also alleging padlocks on the site’s entrances were super-glued shut and that cars were parked nose to tail in front of the entrance, blocking access.

When cars illegally parked in front of the site received parking tickets, FWBC alleges Paul Cradden said words to the effect: “You think a $75 fine will stop us?” It is also alleged Cradden whispered in a Grocon manager’s ear “You’re f***ed”.

FWBC alleges a van with a large CFMEU logo was parked directly in front of the gate on one day, and that approximately six men wearing clothing with CFMEU insignia and logos were gathered under the awning of the van around a barbecue.

Some of the respondents said to a Grocon manager: “f***ing parasite”, “scab”, “gay boy” and “you will never work in this industry again”, FWBC alleges.

The maximum penalty for each contravention in this matter is $22,000 for an individual and $110,000 for a corporation. A directions hearing is scheduled for 2 May 2014. For more information see the Media Backgrounder.

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