29 May 2014CFMEU organiser Joseph Myles allegedly threatens ‘war’ on major construction site

FWBC has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia, alleging that CFMEU organiser Joseph Myles blockaded the Regional Rail Link package B project site because the head contractors refused to employ a CFMEU delegate. The total cost of the state and federal government-funded Regional Rail Link project is $4.102 billion. The package B component includes building a section of the Regional Rail Link Corridor between Southern Cross Station and Hopkins Street in Footscray and a section of the Werribee Line.

FWBC alleges Myles asked a site manager: “Do you want a war or a delegate?” The site manager replied “Nobody wants a war.” Myles allegedly responded: “Well if you don’t want to put a delegate on then we will have one. I’ll be back tomorrow to stop the concrete pour.”

FWBC alleges Myles and other CFMEU officials and members used cars to block access to the Regional Rail Link site in Joseph Road Footscray on 16 May 2013, when a concrete pour was scheduled. Boral trucks carrying wet concrete were subsequently backed up along the road, unable to enter the site.

Myles allegedly told the site manager: “You won’t pour again until you put a delegate on and Ralph Edwards is happy.” Ralph Edwards is the President of the Victorian Branch of the CFMEU’s Construction and General Division.

It is alleged that 24 cubic metres of concrete that was poured before the blockade was wasted, and there were additional costs incurred in demolishing and disposing of it. While the concrete order with Boral was cancelled shortly after the blockade started, an additional 45 cubic metres of concrete had already been dispatched to the site which could not be used because trucks couldn’t access the site.

It is alleged the blockade continued for approximately two-and-a-half hours, when the people standing around the vehicles blocking the site shook hands, posed for a photograph with a CFMEU banner and then left in the vehicles.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said alleged coercive behavior was a scourge on Australia’s construction industry. “We will not hesitate to bring people and organisations before the courts where it appears they have broken workplace laws on building sites,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

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