Case name
Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union
Known as
The Nine Brisbane Sites case
Commonwealth Courts Portal reference and link

QUD755/2016

Applicant

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner

Respondent(s) at time of filing

CFMEU, Matthew Parfitt, Justine Steele, Kurt Pauls, Edward Bland, Antonio Floro, Anthony Stott, Michael Davis

Date filed
28 September 2016
State/Territory
QLD
Breach(es) found
Coercion, Industrial action
Status
Under appeal
Link to liability judgement

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (No 2) [2017] FCA 565

Link to penalty judgement

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (The Nine Brisbane Sites Case) (No 3) [2018] FCA 564

Summary of court decision

On 24 April 2018, the Federal Court penalised the CFMMEU and seven of its officials $522,000 for month-long strikes and work stoppages across multiple Brisbane sites in 2016.

The unlawful industrial action was aimed at forcing a major contractor to only employ subcontractors who had entered into an enterprise agreement with the CFMMEU or CFMMEU approved unions.

CFMMEU officials Matthew Parfitt, Justin Steele, Kurt Pauls, Edward Bland, Antonio Floro, Anthony Stott and Michael Davis targeted nine sites, instigating strikes and disrupting work 16 times from 25 August 2016 to 27 September 2016.

The unlawful conduct impacted large scale projects including the Skytower Project and Newstead Central Apartment development. On a number of occasions, union officials told the contractor’s representatives the work stoppages were not related to the specific sites, but were aimed at the head contractor because it was not consulting with the CFMMEU and was using “non-EBA subcontractors”.

In one instance of strike action at the Hercules Apartments site, Mr Parfitt told the site manager “it’s bigger than you”, and that the head contractor was “f**ked and aren’t playing the game”.

The disruptions resulted in a number of concrete pours being cancelled and at the Opera Apartments site, Mr Steele told a site manager “Just call the concrete pour off and I will leave the site.”

The Court noted: “The level of coordination of action across the various [contractor’s] sites over the month long period indicates involvement of more senior officers of the CFMMEU”.

Her Honour said “it is in my view apparent that the actions of the CFMMEU, through its officials and employees, was orchestrated to take place on particular dates to cause maximum disruption on those dates”.

At the time of the conduct in 2016, the ABCC sought an injunction preventing:

  • the CFMEU from instigating any further strikes or stoppages at any sites operated by the contractor;
  • from holding more than one union meeting every two weeks on any of the sites; and
  • from holding any union meeting under the EBA clause without providing 48 hours written notice to affected employers.

The ABCC also sought penalties against the CFMMEU and the seven officials for instigating unlawful industrial action.

Penalities

Penalties awarded against

Penalties awarded

CFMMEU

$432,000

Justine Steele

$30,000

Antonio Floro

$15,000

Kurt Pauls

$12,000

Edward Bland

$12,000

Matthew Parfitt

$10,000

Michael Davis

$6,000

Anthony Stott

$5,000

Total

$522,000

Total penalities

$522,000

Related content

Media release: CFMMEU and seven officials penalised $522,000 for month-long work stoppages across Brisbane sites