FWBC charges CFMEU with contempt over Wind Farm blockade

FWBC has filed contempt of court charges against the CFMEU alleging it breached a court undertaking by blockading the Bald Hills Wind Farm Project with cars and barbeque trailers.

In a separate court action, also involving the Wind Farm Project, FWBC alleges in December 2013 CFMEU Victorian branch President Ralph Edwards told representatives of a building contractor working at the Project that “we will f*ck you over” if it did not make an enterprise agreement with the CFMEU.

FWBC alleges CFMEU official Gareth Stephenson later told representatives of the building contractor things were “going to get ugly” if they did not change their mind.

The $400 million Bald Hills Wind Farm in South Gippsland will contain 52 wind turbines.

FWBC alleges the CFMEU breached an undertaking it gave to the Federal Court of Australia on 2 April 2014 that it would not prevent, hinder or interfere with access to and from the Wind Farm Project Site.

FWBC alleges the CFMEU breached the undertaking on 15 April 2014 by preventing acess to the Wind Farm Project by blockading various entrances with vehicles and CFMEU barbeque trailers for approximately eight hours.

FWBC alleges a number of gravel trucks were unable to enter the Wind Farm Project which were expected to deliver about 600 tonnes of bluestone and aggregate that day. Employees were also prevented from entering the Project to perform work.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said alleged coercive behavior should not be used to intimidate employers to hire particular persons or sign enterprise agreements with unions.

“No-one in the building industry should be threateded to make business decisions for fear of unlawful action,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

The maximum penalites for breaching the Fair Work Act are $10,200 for an individual and $51,000 for a corporation.

For more information see the media backgrounder.

PDF icon Media Release FWBC charges CFMEU with contempt over Wind Farm blockade.pdf