The ABCC commenced legal proceedings against the CFMMEU and its delegate James Fissenden alleging they threatened to prevent a shopfitter from working at the Sunshine Plaza Shopping Centre site in Maroochydore until he joined the union.
At the time of the alleged conduct, the shopping centre was undergoing an extension that involved the construction of about 80 new retail tenancies.
The worker had been engaged by a shopfitting company that was undertaking fit outs for four retailers at the site.
In a statement of claim filed in the Federal Court in Brisbane the ABCC alleges:
- On 8 March 2019, Mr Fissenden asked the shopfitting company’s director for a list of workers rostered for the weekend so he could “get approval”.
- Mr Fissenden later had a conversation with one of the shopfitter’s to the effect:
Mr Fissenden: I don’t have a record of you as a member.
Shopfitter: Yes, you signed me up. When I was working on stage 1.
Mr Fissenden: I remember you now. You were that cheeky f….ing little c..t who refused to be part of the union. You're a grubby little c..t. I remember tearing your papers up.
- Mr Fissenden then continued the conversation with the director of the shopfittting company to the effect:
Mr Fissenden: You're not working Sunday. I'm not going to approve you to work Sunday until this grubby little c..t joins the union.
Mr Fissenden: Unless we get $625.20, I am going down to me office now, in the next 15 minutes, you will not be working on Sunday.
- Mr Fissenden threatened to prevent the shopfitting company from undertaking work at the site on 10 March 2019 until the worker’s union fees were paid.
- Other workers employed by the shopfitting company were only allowed to work on 10 March 2019 after the company paid the $625.20 CFMMEU membership fee.
The ABCC alleges the conduct in this case contravenes the coercion and adverse action provisions in the Fair Work Act.
The maximum penalty for a contravention under the Fair Work Act is $63,000 for a body corporate and $12,600 for an individual.