07 July 2015CFMEU & representatives allegedly broke law 822 times after sites shut down for 97 days

Director of Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate v Jade Ingham & 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.     The Army Barracks Project – $777 million project involving the redevelopment and construction of a number of various defence facilities within the Department of Defence Enoggera Army Baracks, Enoggera.

2.     The QUT Project - $60 million project for the demolition and refurbishment of existing buildings and the construction of new buildings at Queensland University of Technology’s Kelvin Grove Campus.

Head Contractors Enterprise Agreements

1.     Two head contractors were allegedly targeted. The two head contractors are related companies.

2.     From April 2012 until December 2013, neither head contractor 1 or head contractor 2 had entered into an Enterprise Agreement with the CFMEU in relation to their operations in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

3.     Around mid 2012 the CFMEU sought to negotiate an Enterprise Agreement (EA) with head contractor 2 in relation to its building and construction operations in Queensland.

4.     On 12 December 2012, head contractor 1’s operations manager met with CFMEU (QLD) assistant state secretary Jade Ingham who stated a number of non-negotiable demands, including a flexible RDO calendar for the Northern Territory and provisions for Building Unions Superannuation Scheme (BUSS), Building Employees Redundancy Trust (BERT) and Construction Income Protection Queensland (CIPQ).

5.     At the end of the meeting, Mr Ingham told the operations manager that he should go away and have a think about things in relation to what the CFMEU’s requirements were and that agreement to those terms was required before the CFMEU entered into an EA for head contractor 2’s Queensland operations.

6.     The EA negotiations continued between the head contractors and the CFMEU until March 2013.

7.     On Wednesday 6 March 2013, Mr Ingham called the operations manager. Mr Ingham said words to the effect that he was upset that head contractor 2 had not yet signed an enterprise agreement with the CFMEU in respect of its Queensland and Northern Territory operations and “there will be industrial action until [head contractor] signs the agreement.

QUT Project

March & August 2013

8.     FWBC alleges that on 8 March 2013, CFMEU officials Dennis Mitchell and Kevin Griffin attended the QUT project and  held a meeting with QUT project employees in the project crib shed between approximately 11.45am to 1pm.

9.     FWBC alleges that after this meeting, the workers who had met with Mr Mitchell and Mr Griffin left the project and did not perform work on the project on 8 or 9 March 2013.

10.  FWBC further alleges that either Mr Mitchell or Mr Griffin said to the site manager “the boys won’t be working the rest of the day or on Saturday” and “we’ll meet back here on Monday morning for a report-back meeting”.

11.  At some point on 8 March, head contractor 1’s operations manager called Mr Ingham about the events at the QUT project. During this conversation Mr Ingham allegedly said “this is just the start of it – the sooner you sign the agreement, the sooner it will stop”.

12.  On 12 March 2013, the operations manager attended the CFMEU head office and met with Kane Pearson, assistant secretary of the BLF, and Peter Close, assistant state secretary of CFMEU (QLD), where he was given a copy of the proposed enterprise agreement and told “The industrial action will continue until you sign the agreement,” and it was in the head contractor’s “best interests to sign the agreement as soon as possible”.

13.  On 19 March 2013, Michael Ravbar state secretary of the CFMEU (QLD) phoned the operations manager and said that from the CFMEU’s perspective, the following day was “D Day” and if head contractor 1 did not reach agreement in relation to the Northern Territory EA, then the leniency which the CFMEU had shown head contractor 1 and head contractor 2 up to then would cease. Mr Ravbar also said that both head contractors could expect issues like those experienced by other Tier One contractors on its construction sites.

14.  FWBC alleges that on 9 August, CFMEU organiser Mick Myles and CFMEU officer Ryan Whakaruru attended the QUT project and told the site manager that they were there “…to meet with members at 6.30am to discuss industry issues”.

15.  FWBC alleges that Mr Myles and Mr Whakaruru then went to the top car park and that as workers arrived at the site they did not start work and instead met CFMEU officers, including CFMEU organiser Andrew Sutherland and CFMEU officer Lindsay Stohr. After this meeting workers left the QUT project.

16.  FWBC alleges that at approximately 6.45am various CFMEU officers met with the site manager and the project manager where Mr Sutherland said “The unions have an issue with [head contractors]. The workers have voted to go home because [head contractors] had stalled in negotiations for an enterprise agreement with the unions that would cover any workers it may directly employ in the future; and proceeded to negotiate a non-union agreement in the Northern Territory”.

QUT Project stoppage 28 October to 20 December 2013

17.  On 28  October – 2 November, 7 to 9 November, 11-16 November, 18-23 November, 25-30 November, 2-7 December, 9-14 December and 16-20 December 2013, the QUT project workers were scheduled and expected to attend the project and complete productive work. FWBC alleges that the QUT workers either did not complete work as scheduled or did not attend for work at the QUT project.

18.  FWBC alleges that throughout this period, on various days, CFMEU officials held meetings with workers and at the conclusion of these meetings, workers walked off the job or did not start work on the project.

19.  FWBC alleges that at various times, vehicles attempted to enter the project but a group of people, stood infront of the vehicles and prevented access. On one occasion, a number of people in the group began yelling the words “F**k off,” and the vehicle did not enter the project.

20.  FWBC alleges that on 14 December, head contractor 1’s operations manager attended a meeting with Mr Ingham and the then state secretary of the BLF, David Hanna and that during the meeting, Mr Hanna said “If we can’t reach agreement, there won’t be any work until January”.

Army Barracks Project

9 & 10 August 2013

21.  FWBC alleges that on 9 August throughout the morning, various CFMEU officials stood near the main entrance and spoke to workers.

22.  FWBC alleges that various CFMEU officials then addressed project workers for approximately one hour. After this meeting CFMEU organiser Chad Bragdon told the project manager that “the boys are going out”.

23.  FWBC alleges that at approximately 5.40 am on the same day, CFMEU organisers  Tony Kong and Edward (Eddie) Bland arrived at the site and told the site manager “we are here to talk to the boys”. The site manager said that neither Mr Bland or Mr Kong had a right to enter the project. Mr Bland laughed and said “we have a right to talk to our members.

24.  FWBC alleges that at approximately 6.30am Mr Kong and Mr Bland spoke to approximately 50 workers and told them they were there to “inform you about a document [head contractor 1] has issued to Fair Work Australia without the unions’ agreement,” that the unions had a handshake agreement with the head contractors but this was now another backflip by the head contractors and that there were supposed to be two union delegates at the project, but currently there was only one.

25.  FWBC alleges that either Mr Kong or Mr Bland then asked the workers who had assembled in the car park “who here thinks we should walk?” to which there was silence as no one answered. Mr Kong or Mr Bland then asked who was going to second his proposal “to walk”, at which point CFMEU officer Duncan McAllister raised his hand.

26.  FWBC alleges that five hands were then raised and there was one ‘grunt’ from the entire group when a second vote was held. Mr Kong or Mr Bland then said “that’s it, motion approved. Go enjoy time with your family”. The workers started to disband and leave the project.

27.  FWBC alleges that on the same day a second meeting with over 60 workers from various trades was held and that after this meeting the workers who were present at the meeting left the project.

Army Barracks Project stoppage 28 October to 20 December 2013

28.  FWBC alleges that from 28 October – 2 November, 4-9 November, 11-16 November, 18-23 November, 25-30 November, 2-7 December, 9-14 December, 16-20 December the project workers were scheduled and expected to work. FWBC alleges that the Army Barracks Project workers either did not complete work as scheduled or did not attend for work at the project.

29.  FWBC alleges that throughout this period, at various times, CFMEU officials were outside the project where they spoke with workers.

30.  FWBC alleges that on 29 October CFMEU and BLF flags were on fences and street posts near the entrance to the project.

31.  FWBC alleges that on 30 October, Mr Kong said to the operations manager “Is it going to be fixed soon or am I going to be here for another one or two weeks?” to which the operations manager responded “It’s hard to fix it with a gun pointed to your head.”

32.  FWBC further alleges that on 30 October the operations manager approached a group of workers and asked whether the consequences of breaching the Fair Work Commission orders (detailed below in paragraph 39) were explained to them at the meeting, to which one worker responded “We don’t want to go. We voted to stay, but when you join the union you’re in the union”.

33.  FWBC alleges that on the same day a foreman asked a worker what was going on and why they were leaving, to which the worker responded “Sorry, we’ve got no choice”.

34.  FWBC alleges that on 7 November a manager on site stated to workers “The action you are taking is unlawful and you need to vote to go back to work. Do the right thing by yourselves and and by the company you work for…” The manager also told the workers that the union had been to court and said that they (the union) had nothing to do with the current industrial action and that it was all being done by the project workers themselves.

35.  FWBC alleges that during a meeting on 7 November, Mr Ingham stated “Look I’m running this meeting, keep quiet,” when project workers expressed an interest in returning to work and voted to that effect.

36.  FWBC alleges that throughout this period, on various occasions, numerous CFMEU officers stood outside the project and wore costumes, including Santa Claus and fake beard and wigs

37.  FWBC alleges that thoroughout December 2013, at various times, numerous CFMEU officials stood outside the project and held signs that read ‘[HEAD CONTRACTOR] THE XMAS GRINCH’, ‘MERRY KISS MY ASS [HEAD CONTRACTOR]’, and ‘BEING A SCAB IS THE LOWEST THING A HUMAN CAN BE’.

The s.418 Orders

38.  On 29 October 2013, Senior Deputy President Richards of the Fair Work Commission made orders pursuant to s.418 of the Fair Work Act for the CFMEU to not organise industrial action at the QUT or Army Barracks Projects. Boths.418 Orders came into effect at 5pm on 29 October 2013, with the Army Barracks order being corrected at 2pm on 30 October 2013. Both Orders continued until 5pm on 1 May 2014.

Return to work at QUT Project and Army Barracks Project

39.  On 14 December 2013,  head contractor 2 and the CFMEU made an in principle agreement to enter into an Enterprise Agreement in respect of its building and construction operations in QLD and NT.  Work resumed on both the QUT Project and the Army Barracks project in early 2014 following the end of the 2013 Christmas shutdown.

 

40.  On 3 February 2014, Senior Deputy President Richards approved the [head contractor 2] and Construction Enterprise Agreement (QLD & NT) 2012-2016 Greenfields agreement to which head contractor and the CFMEU were parties and which applied to head contractor 2’s building and construction projects in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Contraventions

FWBC alleges the following contraventions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth):

 

 

Alleged contraventions

CFMEU

(by operation of

s.793 of the FW Act)

Respondent

Position

s.417

s.421

s.343

Michael Ravbar

State Secretary CFMEU QLD/NT Divisional Branch

-

-

1

1

Jade Ingham

Assistant State Secretary CFMEU QLD/NT Divisional Branch

10

8

6

24

Kane Pearson

Assistant Secretary BLF

8

6

6

20

Anthony (Tony) Kong

Organiser CFMEU

22

18

13

53

Kevin Griffin

Organiser CFMEU

24

18

12

54

Michael Myles

Organiser CFMEU

6

1

3

10

Andrew Sutherland

Organiser CFMEU

4

2

3

9

Mark O’Brien

Organiser CFMEU

6

1

3

10

Dennis Mitchell

Organiser CFMEU

6

1

4

11

Chad Bragdon

Organiser CFMEU

4

2

4

10

Edward (Eddie) Bland

Organiser CFMEU

2

-

1

3

Duncan McAllister

Delegate CFMEU

36

32

20

88

Ben Sheeran

Delegate CFMEU

8

6

5

19

Ryan Whakaruru

Delegate CFMEU

8

6

4

18

Lindsay Stohr

Delegate CFMEU

6

4

5

15

Aaron Kelly

Official CFMEU

2

2

5

9

Antonio (Tony) Floro

Agent CFMEU

-

-

7

7

Dylan Stevens

Delegate CFMEU

-

-

1

1

Wayne Scobie

Official CFMEU

6

6

4

16

Mace Griffin

Agent CFMEU

8

8

6

22

John (Jack) Cummins

Official CFMEU

4

4

3

11

Total contraventions alleged against individuals

411

Total contraventions alleged against the CFMEU

411

 

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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