23 October 2014FWBC takes action against employer, union and workers

Director of Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate v J Hutchinson Pty Ltd T/A Hutchinson Builders and others

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

1.    FWBC has launched proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court against J Hutchinson Pty Ltd T/A Hutchinson Builders, the CFMEU, CFMEU organisers Michael Myles and Mark O’Brien and 51 employees of various contractors including Hutchinson Builders.

2.    FWBC alleges the CFMEU, Mr Myles and Mr O’Brien organised industrial action at an apartment block construction site in South Brisbane.

3.    It is alleged the 51 employees engaged in unlawful industrial action.

4.    It is further alleged Hutchinson Builders paid each of their 14 employees who engaged in the industrial action on the basis that they had worked as scheduled.

9 December 2013

5.    At 9.40am two investigators from the Building Construction Compliance Branch of Queensland attended the construction site in South Brisbane.

6.    The investigators were at the site between 9.40am and 11.30am.

7.    FWBC alleges Mr Myles entered the Site between approximately 10.30am and 11am and at approximately 11am approached the 51 employees and requested they stop work and go to the lunchroom.

8.    FWBC alleges Mr Myles told representatives of Hutchinson Builders words to the effect of “this is what we do if these kind of people are on the job…our boys are in the shed until they leave…end of story.”

9.    It is alleged when Mr Myles was told the BCCB would be leaving in “the next ten minutes”, he said words to the effect: “well, you tell us when they’re gone and we’ll have our meeting with the boys and tell them what’s going on”.

10.  FWBC alleges Mr O’Brien arrived on the Site after Mr Myles and met with Hutchinson Builders representatives.

11.  It is alleged Mr O’Brien said words to the effect that the employees would be in the ‘sheds’ until the investigators had left the Site.

12.  It is alleged Mr Myles subsequently told a Hutchinson Builders representative words to the effect: “you’ve got to understand when they come here we’re going to pull everybody off the job”.

13.  FWBC alleges after the investigators left at approximately 11.30am, Mr Myles and Mr O’Brien addressed the employees in the lunchroom for approximately five minutes.

14.  It is alleged the employees subsequently returned to their work at approximately 11.45am.

15.  FWBC alleges Mr Myles, Mr O’Brien then met with the Hutchinson Builders representatives who were told “if they [BCCB] step foot on any of your projects, we will be there within five minutes flat and we will be stopping the job and that’s a nationwide directive from the top”.

16.  It is alleged while on Site, Mr Myles said words to the effect that he stopped and pulled the job because the BCCB were on Site.

Contraventions

17.  FWBC alleges the 51 employees contravened s417(1) of the Fair Work Act by engaging in industrial action.

18.  FWBC alleges Mr Myles, Mr O’Brien and the CFMEU contravened s417(1) of the Fair Work Act  by organising industrial action, further, or in the alternative, were knowingly concerned in, encouraged, aided, abetted, induced, counselled and/or procured the employees to take industrial action

19.  FWBC alleges in or about the period 10 to 24 December 2013, Hutchinson Builders paid each of their 14 employees involved in the industrial action on the basis that they had worked as scheduled on 9 December 2013. It is alleged each of the payments were made without a deduction of four hours pay in contravention of s474(1)(b) of the Fair Work Act.

Penalties

20.  The maximum penalties available to the court in this case are $10,200 for an individual and $51,000 for a corporation, including a union.

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