The ABCC commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against the CFMMEU and its shop steward, Kevin Pattinson, for allegedly preventing an electrician and apprentice from working on a Melbourne site because they were not members of a union.
The case concerns the Monash Peninsula Student Accommodation Project in Frankston on 13 September 2018. Both workers were employed by a solar electrical subcontractor on site.
In a statement of claim filed in the Federal Court in Melbourne, the ABCC is alleging:
- The electrician and apprentice attended a site induction on 13 September 2018;
- Mr Pattinson approached both workers at the induction and had the following conversation:
Mr Pattinson: Are you union? Do you have a ticket for your fees? Have you paid your fees?
Electrician: No, we’re not a union-based company so we don’t have our ticket.
Mr Pattinson: If you don’t have your card you are not working on the site… So, I am going to ask you guys to leave. You guys have to get off site. Here’s a hot tip. If you want to work on a big site like this…, you’re going to need to have your union ticket.
- Following this conversation both workers left the induction and the electrician called their employer, the director of the subcontracting company, and said words to the effect “we’ve been kicked off the site because… we’re not union”
- When the director called Mr Pattinson to ask why the workers had been prevented from working on the project he was given this response:
Mr Pattinson: They don’t have the correct papers
Director: Well, what papers do you want?
Mr Pattinson then terminated the call without providing a response.
- As a result of the conduct of Mr Pattinson, the electrician and apprentice were prevented from working on site that day.
The ABCC is alleging contraventions of the adverse action and misrepresentation provisions in the Fair Work Act. The maximum penalty per contravention is $63,000 for a body corporate and $12,600 for an individual.