Director of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate v Benjamin Abbott and Ors
Court file number: WAD230/2008
Applicant: Australian Building and Construction Commissioner
Respondent(s): Benjamin Abbott & Ors
Date filed: 22 October 2008
Alleged breach: Industrial action
- On 22 August 2011, the Federal Court issued a judgment that the respondents had acted in contravention of the BCII Act and WR Act.
- Australian Building & Construction Commissioner v Abbott (No 4)  FCA 950 (22 August 2011)
- The penalty decision was handed down by Justice Gilmour on 18 September 2013. Total penalties of $1,068,000 were imposed against 117 employee Respondents. Penalties of $775,750 were imposed against 84 employee Respondents who were ordered to pay $387,875 within 60 days, with the balance of the penalty (50%) suspended for a period of three years. The remaining 33 employee Respondents were ordered to pay $292,250 in penalties within 60 days.
- Director of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate v Abbott (No 6)  FCA 942
September 2006, Woodside engaged CBI to perform mechanical construction services at the North West Shelf LNG Plant.
CBI had two agreements in place. The AMWU was a party to one and the CFMEU and AWU were party to the other. The nominal expiry date of both agreements was August 2009.
On 13 October 2008, a representative of the CFMEU demanded that CBI terminate its employees at the site, make redundancy payments and then re-engage the employees for further works. This demand was on the basis that the union believed the project had been completed.
CBI believed that additional works awarded by Woodside formed part of the ongoing project.
On 14 October 2008, employees engaged in strike action. On that same day CBI was granted an order pursuant to s.496 of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 that all CBI employees not take industrial action for one month. Strike action continued for seven days between 17 October 2008 and 24 October 2008.
On 22 October 2008, CBI issued proceedings against its employees to obtain injunctions and have penalties imposed for that industrial action. The ABCC intervened in this proceeding.
On 28 October 2008, the Federal Court ordered that CBI employees be restrained from failing to attend for work.
On 9 February 2009, the injunction was vacated as the Project was complete.
On 24 September 2009, the Federal Court made orders allowing the ABCC to become a second applicant in the proceeding. On 30 October 2009, the ABCC was made the sole applicant in the proceeding.
The ABCC alleged that 117 employees at the Woodside North West Shelf LNG Plant engaged in strike action for eight days in October 2008.
It is alleged that workers engaged in unlawful industrial action in contravention of s.38 of the BCII Act, ss.494, 496 & 719 of the WR Act. The ABCC also alleged that the CFMEU, the AMWU and their officials were involved in the unlawful action. The CFMEU, AMWU and their officials were held to have contravened those provisions at the original trial. The CFMEU successfully appealed and the contraventions against the CFMEU, AMWU and their officials were dismissed.