13 July 2015CFMEU official allegedly threatens 'war' and another 'Kane' situation

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

17 June 2014

1.    FWBC alleges that CFMEU officials Mark Travers and Adam Hall attended a Taxi Lane Replacement Project being undertaken at Melbourne Airport, Victoria.

2.    While on site, the project manager and the site supervisor approached Mr Travers and Mr Hall, in the lunch room and asked them to leave the premises.

3.    The project manager said to the two union officials “Guys, I’m going to have to ask you to leave the site, you haven’t given me 24 hours notice in accordance with the right of entry process”. FWBC alleges Mr Travers responded “No, we don’t have to give 24 hours notice. I’m just catching up with my mate Rod [labourer & site health and safety representative (HSR)]”.

4.    The project manager replied “I understand but I still have to ask you to leave,” to which Mr Travers allegedly said “We are chatting to Rod about a safety issue, but go ahead and call the police or whoever you need to”.

5.    The project manager then left the lunch room and made a phone call to the operations manager and told him what had happened. The operations manager instructed the project manager to ask Mr Travers and Mr Hall to leave the premises and if they refused to do so, to contact the police.

6.    The project manager returned to the lunch room and again requested Mr Travers and Mr Hall to leave the premises. FWBC alleges Mr Hall said “No, we are not leaving. Who is giving you directions?”

7.    The project manager said he was following instructions from the operations manager. The project manager called police. FWBC alleges that Mr Travers then called the operations manager.

8.    During their telephone conversation, the operations manager said to Mr Travers “You know the rules, we have to do this, you can’t be there, if you don’t want to leave then we have no choice but to call the police”. FWBC alleges Mr Travers responded “If he calls the police I won’t leave, I’m just here to talk to Rod, another 5 minutes and we will be leaving,” and “If you do that you are starting a war and it will be no different to what we have done with Kane”.

9.    While Mr Travers and Mr Hall were on site, the operations manager called the President of the CFMEU’s Construction and General Division Victoria/Tasmania Divisional Branch, Ralph Edwards, and requested he intervene and ask Mr Travers to comply with the law. FWBC alleges that Mr Edwards indicated that he would not be instructing Mr Travers to do that and considered that Mr Travers should be able to speak to the union representative.

10.  Four Australian Federal Police officers arrived at the project premises in response to the call made by the project manager. While the police officers were taking the names and dates of birth of the project manager, site supervisor, Mr Travers and Mr Hall, FWBC alleges that Mr Travers said words to the effect of “We know our rights, if the authorities are called, we wait, it’s our policy”.

11.  FWBC alleges that Mr Travers and Mr Travers did not leave the site until the police officers took the details of those involved.

 

Contraventions
 

FWBC alleges that Mr Travers and Mr Hall each contravened section 500 of the Fair Work Act 2009 and the CFMEU contravened the section twice, for exercising a right to hold discussions but acting in an improper manner by:

·         entering and remaining on the Project premises without having provided written notice of entry at least 24 hours in advance as required by the FW Act;

·         holding discussions with the HSR other than in a mealtime or break as required by the FW Act;

·         refusing to comply with the request to leave the premises immediately;

·         remaining on the project for a purpose other than holding discussions, by awaiting the arrival of police;

·         Travers’s threat of retaliatory action by the CFMEU: “you are starting a war and it will be no different to what we have done with Kane”.

Maximum penalties

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

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