06 February 2015CFMEU its officials & site delegates broke law 78 times on one site, FWBC says

Director of Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate v Michael Myles, Ryan Whakaruru, Duncan McAlliste, Kevin Griffin & CFMEU

Allegations as outlined in Fair Work Building & Construction’s (FWBC) statement of claim, these may vary over the course of the proceeding.

1. FWBC has filed proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court against the CFMEU, CFMEU organisers Michael Myles and Kevin Griffin and CFMEU site delegagtes Ryan Whakaruru and Duncan McAllister.

2. FWBC alleges the CFMEU and the organisers and officers broke industrial action and coercion laws on the $60 million Queensland University of Technology’s Creative Industries Precinct Project (“QUT Project”), corner of Musk and Victoria Park Roads, Kelvin Grove, Queensland.

Wednesday 10 September 2014

3. It is alleged Mr Myles asked the Project Manager: “Do you know if anyone has supplied induction records to FWBC because a number of our workers received calls from them over the weekend?” and “Do you know if the Safety Manager is behind it?”

Thursday 11 September 2014

4. Mr Myles allegedly asked the Site Manager what the head contractor’s response was to the questions asked the previous day. Upon hearing the Site Manager’s response (that he did not know), Mr Myles said he would “address the employees”.

5. At approximately 6.40am Mr Myles allegedly addressed a group of 80-100 workers and called a vote on whether to work on the project or to withdraw labour. The workers subsequently left the site for the day.

Friday 12 September 2014

6. FWBC alleges that at about 6am, Mr Whakaruru asked the Project Manager if the head contractor would provide a letter stating the company would not provide workers’ contact details to FWBC. The Project Manager advised that the head contractor would not provide such a letter.

7. At the same time, Mr Myles allegedly addressed between 70-80 workers who were scheduled to work on the project that day, in the site’s carpark. At about 6.30am the Project Manager advised the assembled workers that the head contractor would not provide a letter refusing to provide   workers’ contact details to FWBC.

8. FWBC claims that from about 6.40-7am, Mr Myles again addressed the workers and that as a result of this, they collected their belongings and left the site.

9. Shortly after this, Mr Myles, Mr Whakaruru and Mr McAllister met with representatives of the head contractor. One of the men allegedly demanded that the Safety Manager be stood down. The representatives replied that the Safety Manager would not be stood down to which Mr Myles replied: “You make it pretty easy for me. I’ll go ahead and see the boys and let them know. We offered you to keep him [the Safety Manager] in the shed and we go back but you did not take that up.”

10. FWBC alleges that at about 7.30am the representatives asked Mr Myles to leave the site, after he refused to provide details of his right to enter the site. The group of Mr Myles, Mr Whakaruru and Mr McAllister did not leave the site until 10am, after police instructed them to leave.

11. Following an application by the head contractor, the Fair Work Commission ordered that industrial action at the QUT Project site cease and that the CFMEU and its representatives stop organising industrial action at the site.

Saturday 13 September 2014

12. Work was scheduled to be performed at the site. We allege that none of the employees involved in the CFMEU-led meetings the previous days who were scheduled to work on 13 September showed up for work.

Monday 15 September 2014

13. FWBC claims that Mr Myles, Mr Whakaruru and Mr McAllister organised three meetings of workers in the site car park. After each of these three meetings (which were spaced out throughout the day), FWBC alleges the employees stopped work for two hours.

Tuesday 16 September 2014

14. FWBC claims that two meetings of workers were held in the site’s car park. As per the two meetings held on the previous day, FWBC alleges that immediately after Mr Myles had finished addressing the group of workers, they scattered across the car park where they remained for approximately two hours.

15. It is alleged that Mr Myles, Mr Whakaruru and Mr McAllister met with representatives of the head contractor. Asked if the stoppages were due to the Safety Manager looking after site inductions, Mr Myles replied: “We’re not asking him to get the sack; we are asking that he has no access to induction records…” and “Can Michael [a person other than the Safety Manager] look after them?...”

16. It is alleged that at about 2pm Mr Myles, Mr Whakaruru and Mr Mcallister again met with respresentatives of the head contractor. Mr Myles allegedly asked when the Safety Manager was returning to the site (as he was on leave) and whether he would be continuing to carry out site inductions for workers when he returned. Upon being told that someone other than the Safety Manager would carry out site inductions for employees, Mr Myles allegedly said: “It looks like it might be business as usual in the morning if you do that”.

Wednesday 17 September, 2014

17. The project workforce returned to work in full capacity.

Thursday 9 October 2014

18. FWBC alleges that at about 6am, Mr Whakaruru and Mr McAllister entered the Site Manager’s office and advised him that a meeting would be held at 6.30am in the car park regarding the Safety Manager having attended a safety hazard inspections walk and the Safety Committee meeting the previous day.

19. At about 6.30am Mr Griffin allegedly addressed a group of workers in the site car park. FWBC further alleges that by about 8am, the workers were still in the car park, some talking on mobile phones and some sitting at various locations in the car park.

20. At about 7am Mr Whakaruru, Mr McAllister and Mr Griffin met with representatives of the head contractor where Mr Griffin allegedly said: “Why has [head contractor] broken its promise with regards to [the Safety Manager] and why is [the Safety Manager] on site?...The boys are on a two hour meeting which I have called and they are waiting for me to respond back to them following this meeting”. Mr Griffin then requested a meeting of the Safety Committee.

21. FWBC alleges that at about 7.45am a Safety Committee meeting took place at which Mr Griffin said: “We’ve brought the boys in to hear what management has to say about the change in commitment that was given in relation to [the Safety Manager]: that [the Safety Manager] was not to be on the committee; walks and inductions.”

22. FWBC alleges that at about 10.50am Mr Griffin and Mr Whakaruru entered the Site Manager’s office where one of them allegedly asked: “We were wanting to know what [head contractor] could do to resolve the [Safety Manager] issue and see if he could be removed from the Project”. Mr Griffin then allegedly told the Site Manager that: “The boys have decided to sit this out until there is a resolution.”

Friday 10 October 2014

23. At about 6.30am, Mr Griffin allegedly addressed a group of workers in the car park. The meeting lasted for approximately 45 minutes, during which time no work took place. After this meeting the workers returned to work.

24. It is alleged that at about 7.30am Mr Griffin, Mr Whakaruru and Mr Mcallister met with representatives of the head contractor. Mr Griffin allegedly said: “The workers have agreed that [the Safety Manager] can come onsite and ask them to put their PPE [personal protective equipment] on. However, he only works as a [head contractor] advisor and the workforce won’t talk to him” and “This is what the workforce have decided to do, if he [the Safety Manager] speaks with a guy about a faceshield, the worker will put the faceshield on, but will not acknowledge him in conversation.”

Alleged Contraventions

25. FWBC alleges the respondents contravened s.417 of the Fair Work Act when they organised unlawful industrial action (CFMEU 15 breaches, Mr Myles 4 breaches, Mr Whakaruru 5 breaches, Mr McAllister 5 breaches and Mr Griffin 1 breach).

26. FWBC alleges the respondents contravened s.421 of the Fair Work Act when they organised unlawful industrial action in contravention of the Fair Work Commission’s section 418 order (CFMEU 9 breaches, Mr Myles 2 breaches, Mr Whakaruru 3 breaches, Mr McAllister 3 breaches and Mr Griffin 1 breach).

27. FWBC alleges the respondents contravened s.355 of the Fair Work Act with the intent to coerce the head contractor to not allocate particular duties or responsibilities to a particular employee (CFMEU 15 breaches, Mr Myles 3, Mr Whakaruru 5, Mr McAllister 5 and Mr Griffin 2 breaches).

Maximum penalties

28. The maximum penalties available to the court in this case are $10,200 for an individual and $51,000 for a corporation, including a union.

PDF icon Media Backgrounder - CFMEU its officials and site delegate broke law 78 times on one site, FWBC says.pdf