Case name
The Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union & Anor
Known as
Werribee Shopping Centre Case
Commonwealth Courts Portal reference and link

VID860/2016

 

Applicant

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner

Respondent(s) at time of filing

CFMEU, Andrew Harisiou

Date filed
27 July 2016
State/Territory
VIC
Breach(es) found
Coercion
Status
Finalised
Link to penalty judgment

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (Werribee Shopping Centre Case) [2017] FCA 1235

Summary of court decision

On 23 October 2017, the Federal Court ordered the CFMEU and its delegate Andrew Harisiou to pay $98,000 in penalties after blocking a non-union member from working on a Melbourne construction site and coercing another to pay outstanding union fees before letting him start on the job.

Mr Harisiou admitted that in August 2015 he told workers at the Pacific Werribee Shopping Centre site who were not CFMEU members, words to the effect:

“… if you’re not part of the union, you’re not allowed on this site.”

When one worker said he didn’t want to join the union, Mr Harisiou said words to the effect:

“What, so f*ck the union? … That’s good to know. Well, you’re not getting on site.”

When the employer requested the worker be allowed on site to help out, Mr Harisiou said words to the effect:

“Nuh. Chuck him on a train, send him home, do whatever you want to do, but he’s not getting on site.”

The worker waited around for the remainder of the working day until his colleagues finished. The second worker was allowed on site after his employer paid outstanding union fees.

Justice Tracey said Mr Harisiou’s conduct was “deliberate and wilful” and that this case fell into the “pattern of disregard for the law”. He said the CFMEU had given no assurance that it will:

“… direct its shop stewards not to seek to enforce ‘no ticket, no start’ regimes and to respect the freedom of association provisions of the Act.”

The Court penalised the union the near maximum total of $90,000 for two breaches of laws relating to coercion. Mr Harisiou was penalised $8000 for similar breaches.

Penalities

Penalties awarded against

Penalties awarded

CFMEU

$90,000

Andrew Harisiou

$8,000

Total

$98,000

Total penalities

$98,000

Related content
Media release: CFMEU to pay $98,000 in the Vic ‘chuck him on a train, send him home’ case