10 October 2012FWBC launches Grocon proceedings

Fair Work Building and Construction has commenced civil litigation against the CFMEU and ten individuals in relation to their activities during the Grocon dispute.

The proceedings are the result of an in depth investigation by Fair Work Building Industry Inspectors who, from the first day of the dispute, were on the ground collecting evidence, FWBC Chief Executive Leigh Johns said.

“This evidence is now the foundation for our own litigation against the CFMEU, seven of its officials and three other CFMEU representatives whom we assert have contravened the Fair Work Act,” Mr Johns said.

“FWBC will not tolerate unlawful industrial action, which we allege in this case involved coercive behaviour.”

While FWBC had no jurisdiction to intervene in Grocon’s recent common law proceedings in the Victorian Supreme Court, the evidence collected by FWBC officers was used by Grocon’s lawyers in that action.

Mr Johns said he was proud of the FWBC team for its swift and thorough response to the dispute.

“Consistent with good regulatory practice, our aim is always to minimise the lapse of time between alleged unlawful events and their consequences. FWBC filed this matter in just seven weeks.”

“The nature of our litigation is different from that commenced by Grocon. A dispute of this scale – which lasted some three weeks – necessitates a particularly detailed and complex investigation.

FWBC has filed against the CFMEU, John Setka, Shaun Reardon, Derek Christopher, Elias Spernovasilis, Bill Oliver, Ralph Edwards, Gareth Stephenson, Craig Johnston, Nick Salta and David Lythgo in the Federal Court of Australia, Victoria.

The alleged contraventions occurred during a dispute between Grocon and the CFMEU regarding the employment of CFMEU-nominated shop stewards for Grocon work sites.

In addition to civil penalties FWBC is also seeking compensation for Grocon’s and others’ losses.

For more detailed information, please see the FWBC Background.