11 July 2014FWBC charges CFMEU with contempt over Wind Farm blockade

FWBC has filed contempt of court charges in the Federal Court of Australia against the CFMEU alleging the union breached an undertaking it provided to the Court not to prevent, hinder or interfere with access to and from the Bald Hills Wind Farm Project.

FWBC alleges the CFMEU organised people to blockade entrances to the site with vehicles and barbeque trailers.

In a separate Federal Court action FWBC alleges the CFMEU and its official Gareth Stephenson broke the law by taking adverse action and engaging in coercive conduct against building contractors at the Wind Farm Project

Director of Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate v Construction, Forestry Mining and Energy Union and Gareth Stephenson

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

 

19 December 2013 – CFMEU threats

 

  1. FWBC alleges CFMEU official Ralph Edwards told Hazell Bros Group Pty Limited (Hazell Bros) representatives “we will f*ck you over” if Hazell Bros, which is a contractor on the Wind Farm Project, did not make an enterprise agreement with the CFMEU.

 

20 January 2014 – CFMEU threats

 

  1. FWBC alleges CFMEU official Gareth Stephenson told a Hazell Bros representative that he felt like he had been “shat on personally” when told the company would not be making an enterprise agreement with the CFMEU.
  2. FWBC alleges Stephenson said he would give Hazell Bros a few weeks to change its mind and if that didn’t happen it was “going to get ugly”.

 

March 2014 – Health and Safety Representative

 

  1. FWBC alleges on 13 March 2014, Josip Stavlic was purportedly elected as a CFMEU Health and Safety Representative (HSR) on the Wind Farm Project.
  2. FWBC alleges on 14 March 2014, the CFMEU made a complaint that Stavlic was assaulted on site.
  3. FWBC alleges on 14 March 2014, Senvion Australia Pty Ltd (Senvion), the head contractor, and WorkSafe Victoria commenced an investigation into the alleged assault and the validity of Stavlic’s appointment as CFMEU HSR. International Cranes Pty Ltd (International Cranes), the employer of Stavlic, stood Stavlic down from his employment pending the outcome of the investigation.
  4. FWBC alleges at meetings on 17 and 18 March, which were attended by representatives of International Cranes, CFMEU officials demanded Stavlic be permitted to return to work.

 

20 March 2014 – CFMEU action at Compound A

 

  1. FWBC alleges Stephenson and CFMEU organiser Toby Thornton placed or arranged to have placed vehicles across Gate A before the scheduled start of work at the Site.
  2. FWBC alleges a person wearing CFMEU attire spoke through a megaphone and said they were “here today”, would be “back tomorrow” and would be there every day until their demands were met.
  3. FWBC alleges Stephenson told Victorian Police that they wanted Stavlic back on site and that they were not letting any vehicles in or out.
  4. FWBC alleges the blockade remained in place until about 2.30pm and that there would have been about 14 to 18 truckloads of gravel delivered that day but none were able to be delivered.

 

21 March 2014 – CFMEU action at Compound C and the Box Property

 

  1. FWBC alleges around mid-morning Stephenson and other CFMEU officials and organisers placed or arranged to have placed vehicles block access to the Wind Farm Project.

 

25 March 2014 – Carlton meeting

 

  1. FWBC alleges at a meeting between representatives of Senvion, Edwards and CFMEU organiser Robert Graauwmans in Carlton, Graauwmans said words to the effect: “I have made a personal undertaking that Stavlic would be employed on the project and it is now your problem to make that happen”.

 

 26 March 2014 – CFMEU action at Compound A and Compound B

 

  1. FWBC alleges approximately 10 vehicles were placed across Gate A and Gate B, preventing access to the Wind Farm Project.
  2. FWBC alleges Stephenson and other officials were present and CFMEU organiser Bill Beattie told the Site Manager words to the effect: “We will be here every day until we get what we want”.

 

15 April 2014 – CFMEU action over the whole of the Bald Hills Wind Farm site

 

  1. FWBC alleges on 15 April 2014 the CFMEU placed a number of vehicles, and CFMEU barbeque trailers, across Gates A, B and C, preventing access to the Wind Farm Project.
  2. FWBC alleges Stephenson, other officials and people wearing CFMEU attire were present.
  3. FWBC alleges as a result of the action on 15 April 2014, a concrete pour scheduled to take place at the Wind Farm Project that day was cancelled, a number of gravel trucks were not able to enter the project where it was expected that there would be about 600 tonnes of bluestone and aggregate delivered that day and Hazell Bros workers were prevented from entering Compound A and C.
  4. FWBC alleges International Cranes decided there was no use having its employees attend work at the Wind Farm Project because they would not be able to enter the site.

 

Gareth Stephenson

 

  1. FWBC allege that on 11 February 2014, Stephenson sought to exercise a State or Territory OHS right when he was not a permit holder.
  2. FWBC also allege that Stephenson engaged in coercive conduct in relation to having Stavlic employed at the Wind Farm Project.

 

Allegations as outlined in Fair Work Building and Construction’s (FWBC) contempt charges, these may vary over the course of the proceeding

 

  1. On 2 April 2014, the CFMEU gave an undertaking to the Federal Court of Australia that it would not prevent, hinder, or interfere with free access to, and free egress from, the Wind Farm Project by any person or vehicle.
  2. FWBC allege on 15 April 2014, the CFMEU breached the undertaking given to the Court by preventing free access to and free egress from the Wind Farm Project by persons and vehicles.
  3. FWBC allege that between 5.45am and 2.00pm the following CFMEU officers prevented free access to and free egress from the Wind Farm Project:
    1. Gareth Stephenson;
    2. Toby Thornton;
    3. Alex Tadic;
    4. Joe Myles;
    5. Bill Beattie;
    6. Robert Graauwmans;
    7. Drew McDonald; and
    8. Derek Christopher.
PDF icon FWBC charges CFMEU with contempt over Wind Farm blockade.pdf