On 11 October 2019, the Federal Court imposed penalties totalling $92,000 against the CFMMEU and its organiser Drew MacDonald for their involvement in a blockade of Aldi’s Altona store during its construction in 2014.
The blockade followed the CFMMEU’s demands that the construction company sign an enterprise agreement with the union.
On 5 December 2014, CFMMEU organiser Drew MacDonald blocked the entrance to the site with a vehicle, preventing trucks carrying equipment and materials from accessing the site. As a result of the blockade, work including the installation of precast concrete panels, structural steel work and concrete preparation work could not proceed.
On 8 December 2014, Mr MacDonald again blocked the entrance to the site with a vehicle, preventing work including excavation and form work for a concrete pour, and structural steel work.
The CFMMEU was penalised $80,000, and Mr MacDonald $12,000. Justice Bromberg also ordered Mr MacDonald to personally pay his penalty.
In his judgment Justice Bromberg said:
"I accept that the contravening conduct on 5 December 2014 should be regarded as objectively serious. The conduct was deliberate and, I would infer, engaged in by Mr MacDonald in the knowledge that it was unlawful. The conduct included an intention to coerce and coercive conduct is to be regarded as serious. As a result of Mr MacDonald’s conduct, access to the Site was impeded and building work scheduled on the Site for that day, including the installation of precast concrete panels by MPC, structural steel work and concrete preparation work could not be undertaken.”
Justice Bromberg also described the CFMMEU’s contraventions to be at the higher end of the scale of seriousness:
“I consider that the evidence before me permits an inference that the senior leadership of the CFMMEU or more particularly the Construction and General Division (Victoria/Tasmania Divisional Branch) of the CFMMEU (“Divisional Branch”) of which Mr MacDonald is an official, condoned the contravening conduct of Mr MacDonald and was therefore involved in that conduct.
“…I consider that in terms of its seriousness, the contravention by the CFMMEU is at the higher end of the scale.
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