04 November 2015CFMEU history of unlawfulness paints a “depressing picture”: Judge

A Federal Court Judge has condemned the CFMEU for a “pattern of contravention” of workplace laws. In reviewing a schedule of the CFMEU’s previous contraventions, Justice Jessup found it painted “a depressing picture” which “bespeaks an organisational culture in which contraventions of the law have become normalised”. 

Justice Jessup’s comments come as he penalised the Victorian CFMEU $48,750 and it’s official Joseph Myles $6,375 for unlawful conduct at the $140 million Mitcham and Rooks Road Rail Separation & Station Upgrade project.   

The CFMEU and Mr Myles were found to have committed “a serious contravention” when they caused a number of workers on the project site not to perform their duties on 22 August 2013. The Court found that Mr Myles had even threatened a subcontractor that if his employees presented for work, his company “won’t have a job in Melbourne”.

The unlawful action on the 22 August came after Mr Myles had previously attempted to coerce the head contractor to employ a CFMEU delegate on the project. Mr Myles had threatened that if the head contractor did not adhere to his requests to have a CFMEU representative employed on the project, there would be “war”, adding that it would be easy for him to mobilise “100 guys”.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said “the Court’s acknowledgment of the disregard for the law by the CFMEU was of continuous concern to him, given the agency currently has 63 various CFMEU state and territory officials before the courts for allegedly breaching workplace laws”

“The law says workers have the right to do their work and be free from coercion. It is intolerable that on Australian building sites workers are still being threatened.”  

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