The Federal Court on 23 March 2021 penalised the Queensland division of the CFMMEU and four of its officials $153,510 following a series of right of entry breaches during construction of the 34-storey 180 Ann Street, Brisbane, office tower in 2014.
CFMMEU officials Chad Bragdon, Kevin Griffin, Michael Myles and Andrew Sutherland were penalised a total of $23,460 as a result of their breaches. The CFMMEU was also found liable for the officials’ contraventions and penalised $130,050.
The Court found between 27 June 2014 and 17 July 2014 the CFMMEU officials breached right of entry laws on five separate occasions.
On each occasion the officials failed to provide the required notice before entering the site and refused to sign the visitor’s register as required by site safety protocols. All officials with the exception of Mr Myles also refused to show their entry notices.
On 27 June 2014, Mr Myles told the head contractor’s project manager they could “go and get f…ed” when the project manager advised him he could not enter the site.
The Court also found Mr Bragdon on 17 July 2014 organised workers to stop work and by doing so intentionally hindered the head contractor from carrying out its work.
The 110 workers involved in the stop work did not return to work that day. The workers also took unlawful industrial action on 26 June 2014 and 7 July 2014.
Justice Collier in her judgment stated:
“There is no evidence before me of any contrition or corrective action on the part of the individual respondents or the CFMMEU. Further, the history, including recent history, of contraventions by the CFMMEU strongly suggests a corporate culture in the CFMMEU which is not conducive to compliance with the FW Act.”
Justice Collier went on to say of the CFMMEU:
“The absence of contrition or corrective conduct on the part of the CFMMEU supports the imposition of penalties which will be a meaningful deterrent to future conduct of this nature.”
In commenting on Mr Bragdon’s conduct Justice Collier found the ABCC’s submissions had merit in relation to Mr Bragdon deliberately inflicting industrial harm by organising unauthorised industrial action:
“Mr Bragdon's conduct also involved the added dimension of organising unauthorised industrial action whilst on the Site. In my view Mr Bragdon's conduct was serious.”
*This matter was originally filed by Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC). On 2 December 2016, FWBC became the ABCC.
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