18 July 2015CFMEU official allegedly tells building contractor “you’re on the top of our hit list” & threatens “500 blokes” will go onsite

Director of Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate v CFMEU & Ors

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

Background

Sites

1.     A $30 million cold storage expansion project in Laverton North, Victoria (the Laverton North site).

2.     A toy company head office construction project in Cheltenham, Victoria (the Cheltenham site).

20 February 2014

1.     FWBC alleges that CFMEU official Drew MacDonald attended the Laverton North site.

2.     When asked by the site manager if there was any reason for his visit, Mr MacDonald said words to the effect of “I want to talk to the boys”.

3.     The site manager said “Well if you want to talk to the guys then you need to give me 24 hours written notice, and as long as you come in a smoko or lunch break that’s fine”.

4.     FWBC alleges that Mr MacDonald responded “I don’t give notices and if I want to talk to the guys I will,” before approaching some workers and enquiring whether they were being paid the “Laverton allowance”. (An monetary allowance for working outside of the city area).

5.     FWBC further alleges that when asked by the site manager whether he had a right of entry permit, Mr MacDonald responded with words to the effect: “I don’t need one of those, we don’t do that”.

21 February 2014

6.     FWBC alleges that Mr MacDonald attended the Laverton North site.

7.     When asked by the site manager what the purpose for his visit was, Mr MacDonald responded with words to the effect of “I want to speak to the concreters”.

8.     When asked by the site manager if he had a right of entry permit, Mr MacDonald allegedly responded with words to the effect:“You know we don’t need that”.

9.     FWBC further alleges that Mr MacDonald told the site manager that he wanted to speak to the project manager about the “Laverton allowance”, before calling out and speaking to him.

27 February 2014

10.  FWBC alleges that CFMEU official Stephen Long attended the Cheltenham site office with CFMEU wage flyers.

11.  Mr Long allegedly gave one of the flyers to the site health and safety representative and spoke to him about the wage rise coming into effect as of 1 March 2014.

12.  FWBC alleges that when asked by the site manager if he had a right of entry permit, Mr Long refused to show his entry permit and responded with words to the effect of “Well I’m going to go out and see the boys” to which the site manager responded with “It’s not going to happen unless you’ve got your federal permit”.

13.  FWBC alleges that Mr Long responded with “We’re not going down that path are we?” and “Even if I have got a permit, it’s our policy that we don’t show it”.

14.  The site manager said words to the effect of “It’s what we are obligated to do and if you won’t comply with that and you go on site, I’ll be calling the police”, to which FWBC alleges Mr Long responded with words to the effect of “Who’s going to stop me? All this s**t is going to blow over in a few weeks, but we won’t forget this low act, trust me you don’t want to be the dog who calls the cops on a union official. We won’t forget you did this. Do you really want to call the cops on me; is that really what you want to do?”.

15.  The site manager responded to Mr Long with words to the effect of “I’m not going to argue with you”, to which FWBC alleges Mr Long replied “Well I’m going onsite to service my men”.

16.  FWBC alleges that Mr Long then proceeded to speak to form workers and concreters on the work site and later in the lunch shed.

17.  Mr Long then allegedly returned to the site entrance gate where he asked the site manager if he had called the police. When the site manager replied that he had, FWBC alleges that Mr Long threatened to take action against the head contractor when we he said words to the effect of “We will have five hundred blokes here on-site tomorrow. We won’t sign an EBA with you guys next year, your wages will drop, you blokes will be on nothing”.

5 March 2014 – Cheltenham Site

18.  FWBC alleges that Mr MacDonald and Mr Long both attended the Cheltenham site.

19.  When asked by the site manager what the purpose of their visit was, Mr Long replied with words to the effect of “We want to go out on site and see the guys”.

20.  The site manager responded with words to the effect “No you’re not, not without our 24 hours notice and an entry permit”, to which FWBC alleges Mr Long responded with words to the effect of “What are you going to do? Call the cops again?”.

21.  The site manager responded with words to the effect of “Yes, if I have to. If you give us the notice and the permit we don’t have a problem booking in the time for you to see the guys in the shed, we don’t have a problem with that”, to which FWBC alleges Mr MacDonald asked “What do you want to see? An entry pemit?” to which the site manager responded with “Yes, 24 hours and an entry permit. Then we’ve got no problems”.

22.  FWBC alleges that following this conversation, Mr Long said words to effect: “Well I’ll be going out on site to talk to the guys”, to which the project’s leading hand replied with “If you just get your permit then there is no issue”.

23.  FWBC alleges that in response to the project’s leading hand’s comment, Mr Long said “What have you got to do with this?” to which the leading hand responded “I’m doing what my company wants me to”.

24.  FWBC alleges that Mr Long then said words to the effect of “You’re on the top of our hit list”, to which the site manager said “Just don’t go there Steve or I’ll have to call the police”.

5 March 2014 – Laverton North Site

25.  FWBC alleges that Mr MacDonald and Mr Long attended the Laverton North site.

26.  FWBC alleges that Mr Long told the site manager words to the effect: “We just want to know who your riggers are” and “Well I’m going out to speak to the crane operators.”

27.  When asked  by the site manager whether they had a right of entry permit and if they didn’t, that they would have to leave, FWBC alleges that Mr MacDonald and Mr Long did not respond and proceeded to walk around the Laverton North premises and talked to workers as they wished.

28.  FWBC alleges that Mr Long spoke to crane drivers, plumbers and concreters on site and handed them some leaflets and Mr MacDonald spoke to the riggers.

29.  FWBC alleges that while Mr Long was talking to a worker, the company Director approached him and said words to the effect: “What are you doing out here? You haven’t given what we asked for, you have got to leave site, if you give us notice and show your permits you can talk to the guys”.

30.  FWBC alleges that Mr Long responded with words to the effect of “No, I’m doing my job” and “I’m going to have a meeting with the boys”.

31.  FWBC further alleges that Mr Long said words to the effect: “Come on guys we are having a meeting, everyone in the sheds” and as workers were making their way into the lunch shed, Mr MacDonald said to the site manager, words to the effect of “This is a meeting for workers only”.

Contraventions

1.     FWBC alleges that Mr MacDonald contravened section 500 of the Fair Work Act 2009 on four separate occasions, Mr Long on three and the CFMEU on seven.

2.     FWBC alleges that Mr MacDonald contravened section 503 of the FW Act on four separate occasions, Mr Long on three and the CFMEU on seven.

3.     FWBC alleges that Mr Long contravened section 340 of the FW Act on one occasion and the CFMEU on one.

Maximum penalties

1.     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.

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