FWBC initiates contempt proceedings against SA CFMEU organiser

FWBC has launched proceedings against CFMEU organiser Jim O’Connor in the Adelaide Federal Court alleging contempt of earlier orders issued by the Court.

FWBC alleges that, on 13 May 2014, Mr O’Connor attended the new Royal Adelaide Hospital site and exercised his rights under the Fair Work Act to enter and hold discussions with employees on the site.

During the course of this entry, FWBC alleges that Mr O’Connor threatened a subcontractor that the CFMEU would “go to war” unless the subcontractor employed a Mr Jason Clarke as a labourer.  FWBC alleges that at the time, Mr Clarke was a member of the South Australian branch of the CFMEU’s committee of management.

Under the Fair Work Act it is unlawful for any person to take action intended to coerce an employer to employ a particular worker.

Mr O’Connor is currently subject to orders issued by the Federal Court, on 25 March 2014, that restrain him from entering the new Royal Adelaide Hospital site, unless he is lawfully exercising his rights under the Fair Work Act.

FWBC alleges that Mr O’Connor’s conduct in making unlawful demands was in contempt of these Federal Court Orders.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said that he has expressed on a number of occasions that FWBC has as its key focus ensuring the rule of law applies in Australia’s Building and Construction Industry. “Anyone in the industry, including union officals, subject to Court orders must take them seriously or face litigation by the industry regulator.

This case is particularly concerning, if the allegations are proved true that a union official subject to an order to act lawfully then proceeded to enter a site and make unlawful demands.”

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