CFMEU official Joseph Myles allegedly threatens to blockade site

Fair Work Building & Construction (FWBC) has issued proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and  CFMEU official Joseph Myles alleging Mr Myles threatened to blockade the $140 million Mitcham and Rooks Road Rail Separation Project (the Project) site unless the head contractor engaged a CFMEU delegate.

FWBC alleges on 10 July 2013, Mr Myles told the head contractor’s project general manager that the CFMEU wanted representation on the Project.

It is alleged on 1 August 2013, Mr Myles again met with the general manager and said he expected there to be CFMEU representation on the Project site within one week and put two names forward.

It is further alleged Mr Myles then indicated if there was not CFMEU representation, there would be “war” and it would be easy for him to mobilise “100 guys” at the Project site gate.

FWBC alleges on 22 August 2013, Mr Myles attended the Project site and, in the company of several other persons in CFMEU clothing, directed, advised, counselled, encouraged, induced, incitied or procured the employees of the subcontractors not to work at the Project site that day.

It is alleged Mr Myles said to representatives of the head contractor: “C’mon guys you know what I want”. FWBC alleges Mr Myles told a subcontractor words to the effect: “Don’t come in tomorrow because there’s no way your men will be working tomorrow. If your men go out to work, [the company] won’t have a job in Melbourne.”

It is alleged Mr Myles and the CFMEU took action or threatened to take action with the intention of coercing the head contractor to engage a CFMEU delegate.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said coercion has no place on Australian building sites. “Employers and contractors should not feel pressured or intimidated about who they employ. Coercion is blatantly unlawful and will not be tolerated. FWBC will not hesitate to bring people and organisations before the courts where it appears they have broken the law.”

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