05 September 2012FWBC secures $200,000 finding against CFMEU and McDonald

The Federal Court at Perth today ordered the CFMEU and its WA Assistant Secretary Joe McDonald to pay penalties totaling $200,000 and FWBC costs, for a targeted industrial campaign against a construction company.

FWBC Chief Executive Leigh Johns condemned the CFMEU’s unlawful tactics which were employed to force a construction company to make an agreement.

“The CFMEU’s campaign of strikes, threats, picketing and blockading was unlawful and has no place in Australia’s construction industry,” Mr Johns said.

“The integrity of the bargaining process is paramount. FWBC will fully investigate and prosecute any coercive behavior that is designed to force a party to make an agreement.

“Today’s result has held the CFMEU and Mr McDonald accountable for their actions – to the tune of $200,000.

“Obviously today’s judgment relates to events that occurred more than a year ago.  Court processes do not always allow an immediate penalty result, but today’s judgment should serve as a reminder that those that contravene the law will be held to account in good time.”

Federal Court Justice Buchanan endorsed a statement of facts and penalties, agreed to between the parties. The CFMEU and Mr McDonald admitted to organising two strikes at the Queens Riverside Apartments project in Perth in February and June 2011.

The strikes resulted in the CFMEU and Mr McDonald being in contempt of court because an earlier Court Order had prohibited them from engaging or being involved in any industrial action involving the head contractor, Diploma Construction (WA) Pty Ltd (Diploma).

The CFMEU and Mr McDonald also admitted to attempting to coerce Diploma to enter into a building agreement through the use of threats, a picket and a blockade in June and July 2011.

Mr Johns pointed out that the February strike was taken in protest over alleged sham contracting by a contractor.

“FWBC investigated and prosecuted the company for sham contracting and secured a $48,000 penalty,” he said.

 “I urge anyone in the construction industry to refer allegations of sham contracting to FWBC, rather than taking unlawful action which could land them in court.

“FWBC is the industrial relations regulator for the construction industry and we are here to ensure the rights of everyone in the industry are respected.”

For more detailed information, see the FWBC Backgrounder.