26 July 2013FWBC alleges CFMEU SA Assistant Secretary coerced company

Backgrounder

Director of Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate v CFMEU & McDermott

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

Background

  1. Hansen Yuncken Pty Ltd was the head contractor on the Harris Scarfe Project at 80 Grenfell Street, Adelaide.

 

  1. BD Steel Fixing Pty Ltd (BDSF) was engaged to provide steel reinforcement services for the project.

 

  1. On 20 June 2012, BDSF terminated an employee due to a reduction in available work at the project.

 

  1. On 21 June 2012, CFMEU (SA branch) Assistant Secretary Michael McDermott telephoned BDSF’s Director and complained that the employee was terminated because he was the health and safety representative at the site. The Director denied this and stated the employee was terminated due to a reduction in work.

 

  1. Mr McDermott rejected this and stated “I am going to get the boys to sit down if [the employee] does not get his job back.

 

  1. On 22 June 2012, Mr McDermott attended the Harris Scarfe Project and told the Site Manager “he was here to get [the employee] his job back.”

 

  1. At about 7am on 22 June 2012, Mr McDermott organised a meeting of BDSF employees and proposed that they should not work until the employee was reinstated.  Mr McDermott then organised a vote in which the majority of workers agreed not to go back to work until the employee got his job back.

 

  1. The site manager asked Mr McDermott to leave the site, but Mr McDermott refused.

 

  1. Mr McDermott then telephoned BDSF’s Director and said “I just had a talk to the boys and the boys have agreed to put down tools til [the employee] gets his job back.”

 

  1. The BDSF employees remained in the lunch room until 11am and didn’t work that day. The BDSF employees returned to work on Monday, 25 June 2012.

Contraventions

  1. FWBC alleges that the CFMEU and Mr McDermott breached s355 of the FW Act by organising BDSF employees to take action with intent to coerce BDSF to accede to their demands to reinstate the employee.

Civil Litigation Proceedings

  1. FWBC filed proceedings in the Federal Court at Adelaide on 9 July 2013.

 

  1. A directions hearing is to be scheduled.

 

Maximum penalties

  1. The maximum applicable penalty for a contravention of the FW Act in this matter is $6,600 for an individual and $33,000 for a body corporate.
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