Director of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union & Ors
Court file number: NTD28/2013
Applicant: Director of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate
Respondent(s): CFMEU,Kane Pearson and Adam Olsen
Date filed: 13 December 2013
Alleged breach: Coercion
- On 13 March 2015, the Federal Court issued a judgment determining that the respondents had breached the Fair Work Act (2009).
- Director of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (No 2)  FCA 199
- Subsequently on 14 August 2015, the Federal Court imposed penalties totalling $45,600 on the CFMEU, Mr Pearson and Mr Olsen.
- Director of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (No 3)  FCA 845
FWBC has commenced proceedings against the CFMEU, Adam Olsen and Kane Pearson in the Federal Court of Australia, Northern Territory. Reday Pty Ltd (Reday) was the builder and developer on the Central Apartments project site in Darwin.
It is alleged that on 17 June 2013, five CFMEU officials, including Pearson, attended the site. The Site Manager requested the union officials return at a later time.
In response to this request, Pearson spoke to the Project Manager and allegedly said words to the effect: “We don’t really have to tell you when we’re coming onto the site; you know we’re here now and we can just come onto the site if we want to.”
Pearson then spoke to a Project Manager of Reday and allegedly said words to the effect: Reday is in breach of “Health and safety,” and “You’re going to walk with me through the site or I’m going to walk through on my own.”
During the walk through, Pearson and other CFMEU officials allegedly told workers they saw to stop work.
Pearson allegedly told the Project Manager words to the effect: “This is dangerous,” and “as you don’t have a designated plan for a crane driver to know where to unload the cage, it’s unsafe, and I must stop the concrete pour…”
Pearson is alleged to have returned to the site on 18 June 2013 and spoke with the Project Manager about talking workers into joining the union and Reday paying union fees for workers, to then get the money back over time.
Pearson again alleged to have attended the site on 19 June 2013 and said to the Project Manager “There’ll be more union officials coming into Darwin and I expect you to have a cheque payable to the CFMEU, not cash, for union fees for me on Friday morning.”
The Project Manager replied: “This is extortion” and Pearson allegedly responded with words to the effect: “No it isn’t … If you want to have a good relationship with the union, I expect a cheque on Friday and you can take it off the workers’ pay as they earn.”
On 26 June 2013, Olsen and two other CFMEU officials allegedly attended the site. The two other officials conducted a meeting with Reday employees concerning becoming CFMEU members.
After no interest shown by the workers to become union members, Olsen allegedly told the Project Manager and Site Manager that the site would be targeted for further action if it didn’t pay fees for workers to the union with words to the effect: “You know, don’t go down the path that Sunbuild are taking at the moment because we will be hammering them.”
FWBC alleges that Olsen intended to coerce Reday to pay union fees for its employees. FWBC also alleges that the Pearson and Olsen acted in an improper manner whilst exercising right of entry to a site.
Media release: Media Release - CFMEU fined $45,000 after attempting to coerce builder into paying its employees' union fees Media Backgrounder - FWBC alleges CFMEU threatened action to coerce payment for membership (PDF - 265K) Media Release - FWBC alleges CFMEU coerced Northern Territory builder (PDF - 156K)