14 April 2015CFMEU State Secretary claims officials “under pressure from national office” to break the law

FWBC FILES FOUR FEDERAL COURT CASES AGAINST CFMEU

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

Background

Sites

·         Ergo Apartments Stage 2 Project, Sturt Street, Adelaide

·         Southern Expressway Duplication Project, 3 Majors Road, O’Halloran Hill

·         Tonsley Redevelopment Project, Flinders University, Alawoona Avenue, Mitchell Park

·         St Marks College Project, Kermode Street, North Adelaide

28 April 2014

1.     FWBC alleges that at approximately 8:45am, CFMEU SA Assistant State Secretary Michael McDermott and official Anthony Sloane entered the Ergo Apartments site and met with the Project Manager.

2.     FWBC alleges that Mr McDermott and Mr Sloane gave no response to the Project Manager’s question “Why are you guys on site? Is it for industrial relations or safety related?”

3.     The Project Manager said “You haven’t provided us with a notice of entry, you must leave site.” FWBC alleges that Mr McDermott and Mr Sloane ignored the Project Manager’s request and walked further onto site where they held discussions for around 25 minutes with approximately seven workers.

29 April 2014

4.     FWBC alleges that at about 6:50am, CFMEU officials David Bolton, Michael Huddy and Brendan Pitt attended the Southern Expressway Duplication Project site.

5.     FWBC alleges that the three officials went to the site’s crib shed area where approximately 150-200 workers were present for a tool box meeting scheduled to start at about 6:55am.

6.     Mr Bolton, Mr Huddy and Mr Pitt allegedly attempted to hold discussions with workers.

7.     FWBC alleges this included discussions with workers, in the crib shed area, in a common undercover area and in a crib room.

8.     FWBC alleges that in response to the Safety Manager asking workers whether anyone had any issues or anything to raise, Mr Bolton stated to several workers, words to the effect “Is everyone aware that Lend Lease got the improvement notice for evacuations? It says you have to have an evacuation drill,” and “have you had a drill?” and “the union action that lead to the improvement notice being issued was justified and that it had worked”.

9.     Mr Bolton, Huddy and Pitt were given directions to leave the site.

10.  FWBC alleges that when the Operation Manager asked the respondents why they were on site, Mr Bolton replied “We just want to have a meeting with the members” and “We are just here to talk to members, once we have done that I’ll come and see you and then leave”. Mr Bolton was then advised by the Operation Manager that the Police would have to be called.

11.  FWBC alleges that when the Operation Manager asked the respondents to leave the site, Mr Pitt replied “No I’m here to speak to CFMEU members”.

12.  FWBC alleges that when the Operation Manager again asked the respondents to leave the site as they had not provided a proper right of entry permit, Mr Huddy said “No I am not leaving”.

13.  FWBC alleges that Mr Bolton, Huddy and Pitt did not leave the site until two police officers escoreted them  off the site.

22 May 2014

14.  FWBC alleges that at approximately 10:30am, Mr Bolton and CFMEU State Secretary Aaron Cartledge attended the Flinders University site and did not report to the Flinders University site office.

15.  FWBC claims that Mr Bolton and Mr Cartledge proceeded to the site lunch rooms where they held discussions with workers for approximately one hour.

16.  The Site Manager advised Mr Bolton and Mr Cartledge that they were not permitted on site without a right of entry notice or permits and that they had to leave site.

17.   FWBC alleges Mr Cartledge responded that they were there “to speak to employees about their EBA” and that they would “not be providing a notice” and that they were “under pressure from the national office not to provide right of entry notices” and that they would be “going on site to speak to the workers”.

18.  FWBC alleges that Mr Bolton and Mr Cartledge remained on sitefor approximately an hour.

23 May 2014

19.  FWBC alleges that at approximately 12:50pm, Mr McDermott entered the Ergo Apartments site and signed the visitor register.

20.  The Project Manager approached Mr McDermott and asked him to leave the site as no entry notice had been provided, to which FWBC alleges Mr McDermott responded “I’m not exercising my right of entry”.

21.  FWBC alleges that Mr McDermott then held discussions with various project workers in the site lunch shed.

4 June 2014

22.  FWBC alleges that at approximately 6:50am Mr McDermott entered the St Marks College site where he asked the Safety Supervisor “Who is on site today?” and “What companies are they from?”. The Safety Supervisor responded that the concreters and steel fixers were on site and that Mr McDermott already knew which companies they were from.

23.  FWBC alleges that Mr McDermott then said words to the effect “I want to have a chat to the boys”.

24.  When told by the Safety Supervisor that he could not do that without his documentation, FWBC alleges that Mr McDermott responded “You know I’m not going to do that”.

25.  The Safety Supervisor advised that if Mr McDermott did not leave the site he would call the police, to which FWBC alleges Mr McDermott responded “Are you going to be one of those d**kheads are you? Call them then, they are only going to escort me off if I’m still here”.

26.  FWBC alleges that Mr McDermott then proceeded to the site lunch shed where he asked several project workers “How many of you are in the union?” and then proceeded to discuss union membership and benefits.

27.  FWBC alleges that during his address to the project workers, Mr McDermott made two requests to the Safety Supervisor to stand somewhere else while he “Spoke to the boys”.

28.  The Safety Supervisor responded to Mr McDermott with words to the effect “No, not without the proper documentation”, to which FWBC alleges Mr McDermott turned to the project workers and said “This is what we are fighting against”.

6 June 2014

29.  FWBC alleges that at approximately 12:05pm Mr McDermott entered the Ergo Apartments site and signed the visitor register.

30.  When asked by the Project Manager why he was on site and whether he had given an entry notice, FWBC alleges that Mr McDermott responded with words to the effect “I am catching up with guys at lunch” and “If I find anything on site I will use my WHS permit to gain entry”. He was then told to leave the site by the Project Manager.

31.  FWBC alleges that Mr McDermott ignored this direction and instead held discussions with various project workers in the site lunch room until approximately 1:07pm.

14 July 2014

32.  FWBC alleges that Mr McDermott entered the Ergo Apartments site at approximately 12:00pm, with Mr Cartledge arriving approximately 10 minutes after.

33.  The Project Manager said to Mr Cartledge “I understand you are having discussions at lunch time, because we haven’t received a notice you have to leave,” and “Why aren’t you giving notice prior to entry? If you give prior notice we have no problem”, to which FWBC alleges that Mr Cartledge responded “Although we won’t be looking at safety on site I think the formwork could be improved and we will turn a blind eye to it, there’s a sneak peek of what we will be looking at next time on site”.

34.  FWBC alleges that Mr McDermott and Mr Cartledge then held discussions with project workers in the site lunch room for approximately 25 minutes, not leaving the site until approximately 1:10pm.

Contraventions

35.  FWBC alleges that the above conduct gives rise to 24 contraventions of section 500 of the Fair Work Act, specifically:

a.     11 contraventions by the CFMEU

b.    1 contravention by the CFMEU NSW

c.     5 contraventions by Mr McDermott

d.    2 contraventions by Mr Cartledge

e.     2 contraventions by Mr Bolton

f.     One contravention each by Mr Huddy, Mr Sloane and Mr Pitt

Maximum penalties

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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