- Latest news and media
- Legal case summaries
- Industry Update
- Latest Industry Update
- Past Industry Updates
- Industry update - November-December 2016
- Industry Update July - August 2016
- Industry Update July - August 2017
- Industry Update March - April 2016
- Message from the Director
- Court summary - New cases
- Court summary - Finalised matters
- Summary of recent Right of Entry Permit activity
- FWBC to assess enterprise agreements for code compliance
- Drug and Alcohol testing requirements under the Building Code 2013
- Contact FWO for matters related to wages and entitlements
- Industry Update March - April 2017
- Industry Update May - June 2016
- Industry Update September - October 2016
- Industry Update September - October 2017
- Message from the Acting Commissioner
- Annual report - significant outcomes by the ABCC in 2016-17
- Court summary – finalised matters
- Court summary – new matters
- Summary of recent right of entry permit activity
- Streamlined process for resubmission of enterprise agreements
- The first year of the 2016 Code
- Wages and Entitlements
- Industry Update - January - February 2016
- Industry Update 18 December 2015
- Industry Update 27 November 2015
- Industry Update 6th August 2015
- Message from the Director
- CFMEU may be banned from paying its officials’ fines
- FWBC puts Tier One contractor before Federal Court
- CFMEU official allegedly tells building contractor “you’re on the top of our hit list” & threatens “500 blokes” will go onsite
- CFMEU official allegedly threatens ‘war’ and another ‘Kane’ situation
- Q & A with FWBC
- Three CFMEU officials’ permit applications refused
- Industry Update 13th July 2015
- Industry Update 18th March 2015
- Industry Update 5th March 2015
- Message from the Director
- Come on get Appy
- Compulsory 2013 Building Code audits starting
- 72 CFMEU officials before the courts
- Building and construction activity update
- Union officials must obey safety rules
- Court penalises CFMEU and officials $205,100
- Freedom of Association - Know Your Rights
- CFMEU’s Luke Collier added to No Permit List
- Courts wrap up
- Industry Update November 2014
- Industry Update October 2014
- Industry Update September 2014
- Industry Update August 2014
- Industry Update July 2014
- Industry Update June 2014
- Industry Update April 2014
- Industry Update March 2014
- E-Alert - Melbourne rally on 18 February 2014
- Industry Update - January-February 2017
- Industry Update - May - June 2017
- Industry Update February 2014
- Industry Update December 2013
- Industry Update November 2013
- Industry Update October 2013
- Industry Update June 2013
- Acting Director's message
- Vic CFMEU & officials incur $115k penalty
- FWBC conducts site visits following Melbourne Stop Work Rally
- Supreme Court finds CFMEU guilty of contempt in Grocon case
- $2m in unpaid wages & entitlements in construction workers' pockets
- The Building Code - what does it mean for you?
- Queensland's Office of State Revenue targets construction industry employers
- E-Alert - Melbourne Rally on 30 April 2013
- Industry Update April 2013
- New leadership at FWBC - Acting Director's message
- Know your worth campaign in full swing
- Do you employ apprentices? Tell us more
- Unpaid employee entitlements? Where to go for help
- Construction industry loses fewer days to strikes
- FWO to tackle exploitation of workers on 457 visas
- Free business apps now available
- Hot off the press - brochure for employees
- Industry Update January 2013
- Chief executive's message - welcome back to work
- New Building Code announced
- New program in SA to reduce exploitation of 457 visa workers
- Up to 13 per cent of independent contractors misclassified - Independent research report
- FWBC alleges CFMEU WA Secretary coerced building company not to host FWBC presentation
- Update on CFMEU-Grocon dispute proceedings in Vic
- Penalties for breaches of workplace relations law rise by 54.5 per cent
- Happy new year for construction workers - $80,000 in recent recoveries
- Serious penalties for misleading FWBC
- New FWBC guidance notes to promote openness
- Industry Update March 2013
- Do you know your worth? Chief Executive's message
- Knowyourworth.gov.au – the one-stop-shop for apprentices
- Hiring apprentices - what you need to know
- Quick guide to pickets and blockades
- FWBC audit campaign to assess 400 employers
- Don't be caught on the hop! Easter public holidays
- Court dismisses appeal
- Industry Update December 2012
- Industry Update November 2012
- What’s new at FWBC? Chief Executive’s message
- Translated FWBC video and brochures released
- Model national WHS Act – when and where does it apply?
- Q&A with FWBC’s Chief Counsel – Brian Corney
- Compensation and penalty payments secured for head contractor and subbies in Qld
- Things heating up on your building site? Call FWBC
- Follow FWBC on Twitter
- Leigh Johns sets the record straight on recovery of wages and entitlements
- Small business? ASIC wants to hear from you
- Enforceable Undertakings – another regulatory option available to FWBC
- FWBC’s first Annual Report tabled in Parliament
- Industry Update October 2012
- The new FWBC Industry Update is here
- FWBC holds unions and representatives to account in Victoria
- Targeted industrial campaigns cost CFMEU and McDonald $250,000
- Understanding your workplace rights is as easy as checking a box
- Side deals – not worth the paper they’re written on
- FWBC promotes rights of Defence Reservists
- Fair Work Building Industry Inspectors – coming to Rockhampton and Wollongong this month
- Industry Update August 2013
- Message from FWBC Director Val Gostencnik
- End of Financial Year Legal Wrap Up
- Court orders unions to pay $65k penalty for QLD strikes
- FWBC report finds misunderstanding most common reason for underpayments
- Termination of employment under the microscope in NSW
- QLD audit serves as reminder that EBA side deals can be costly
- New court cases in QLD and SA
- FWBC releases Agency Multicultural Plan
- Media contacts
FWBC action - Grocon dispute30 August 2012
This document provides information about regulatory action taken by Fair Work Building & Construction (FWBC) in response to the Grocon dispute.
1. On Friday, 17 August 2012:
a. FWBC received a report of alleged unlawful conduct at a Grocon site in McNab Avenue, Footscray, Victoria.
b. Fair Work Building Industry Inspectors attended the McNab Avenue site and began an investigation into breaches of the Fair Work Act (FW Act), namely:
i. Section 346 – Protection against adverse action concerning both:
a. the ‘scab’ flyer in respect of the CFMEU parties; and
b. the allegations being made by the CFMEU against Grocon.
ii. Section 348 – Coercion;
iii. Section 355(a) – Coercion to employ, being the essential element of the dispute between the parties;
iv. Section 417 – Industrial action before expiration of nominal expiry date (unprotected industrial action “UIA”); and
v. Section 50 – a person must not contravene an enterprise agreement is also being considered.
c. Grocon commenced action in the Supreme Court of Victoria. The application was brought by summons in relation to the picket. Grocon did not allege breaches of the FW Act. Grocon sought and was granted injunctive relief against the CFMEU in relation to site at McNab Avenue, Footscray.
2. On 20 August 2012 picketing activity moved to Grocon’s Emporium site. By summons dated 20 August (and further summonses dated 24 and 28 August 2012) Grocon sought and obtained further injunctive relief against the CFMEU in relation to the Emporium Site and its 150 Collins Street site and Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre site. The injunctive relief is in place until the trial in the substantive matter. Grocon did not allege FW Act breaches.
3. A summons in relation to 5 proposed individual respondents was adjourned until 3 September 2012. Grocon is to file and serve a statement of claim by 11 September 2012.
4. The FWBC investigation into alleged CFMEU breaches is continuing with the assistance of Grocon.
The FWBC investigation into alleged Grocon breaches has been suspended pending the receipt of any credible evidence from the CFMEU. A request for evidence made to the CFMEU has been ignored.
Why didn’t FWBC intervene in Grocon’s case before the Supreme Court of Victoria?
Because FWBC has no jurisdiction to do so.
Why doesn’t FWBC have jurisdiction to intervene?
Because Grocon’s action in the Supreme Court of Victoria does not allege a breach of the FW Act, FWBC has no jurisdiction to intervene in the proceedings.
Could the ABCC have intervened in Grocon’s case?
Neither the former Workplace Relations Act 1996 nor the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 would have invested any predecessor agency with jurisdiction to intervene in the proceedings as they have been brought by Grocon.
But the ABCC did intervene in matters in the past didn’t it?
Yes, the ABCC did intervene in matters in the past.
However, it only did so when breaches of the Workplace Relations Act 1996, the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 or Fair Work Act 2009 were being alleged. That is not the case in the present matter.
Could FWBC commence its own action?
Yes, it could do so in the Federal Court of Australia.
FWBC is undertaking a thorough investigation of potential breaches of the FW Act to determine if there are reasonable prospects of success in commencing civil penalty proceedings in respect of any breaches of the FW Act.
FWBC is obligated under the Commonwealth’s Legal Services Directions to act as a model litigant. This usually requires completing an investigation and obtaining legal advice that any legal action has reasonable prospects of success.
FWBC also operates in accordance with its Litigation Policy and Statement of Professional and Ethical Standards (Annexure A to the Litigation Policy).
FWBC is complying with these obligations.
But FWBC could have sought an injunction in the Federal Court couldn’t it?
Yes. The Legal Services Directions do not prevent FWBC from seeking urgent injunctions.
However, there was little utility in doing so when, as early as 17 August 2012, Grocon had already obtained an injunction in the State jurisdiction and further injunctions in following days.
It would have been premature for FWBC to rush off to get its own injunction.
Doing so would have:
had the potential to sabotage Grocon’s legal strategy in the State Supreme Court by providing the CFMEU with a basis for making an application to have the dispute transferred to the Federal Court of Australia; and
disabled FWBC from further investigating the matter through the use of statutory powers (e.g. through the service of Notices to Produce documents). This would have severely impeded the ability of FWBC to fully investigate the matter and obtain all the evidence necessary to properly and successful prosecute civil penalty breaches of the FW Act.
An informed decision was made not to rush off to the Federal Court of Australia. It had nothing to do with the legislative basis under which FWBC now operates.
FWBC will pursue any breaches of the Fair Work Act in this matter, including the recovery of economic loss suffered by Grocon or any affected subcontractors.
See FWBC Investigative Processes Guidance Note for more information about FWBC’s investigation procedures.
A number of commentators have said your predecessor agency would have stopped the picket. Does FWBC have strong enough powers to enforce the law?
These claims misunderstand the nature of the dispute. Previous legislation including the Workplace Relations Act 1996 and the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 would not have allowed the regulator jurisdiction to stop the picket.
FWBC has actively pursued alleged breaches with the same strategies and legislative recourse that would have been exercised by any previous regulator.
What will FWBC do about flow-on pickets and work stoppages in other states?
FWBC can confirm it has active investigations related to the Grocon dispute or associated stoppages in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
What is FWBC doing about claims of violence, involvement of bikies and abuse at the pickets?
Violence is unacceptable in the building and construction industry
FWBC has no power to investigate claims of criminal activity, but will refer any relevant information collated in the course of its investigation to the appropriate state policing authority.