On 27 July 2020 the Australian Building and Construction Commission filed legal proceedings in the Federal Court alleging CFMMEU delegate Steven Parker delayed work from starting on Melbourne’s Metro Rail Tunnel project claiming a first aid bed was too high.
The alleged unlawful industrial action took place on 11 July 2019 at the $11 billion rail project’s City Square site and lasted for approximately three hours.
At the time of the action, it is alleged Mr Parker, a CFMMEU shop steward, directed a group of workers attending a 6.30am pre-start meeting not to commence work due to inadequate first aid facilities.
When the tunnel supervisor asked Mr Parker what the problem was Mr Parker allegedly said the first aid bed was too high.
The ABCC’s statement of claim filed in the Federal Court also alleges:
- Mr Parker repeated his direction not to start work to another group of workers who had attended the subsequent 7am pre start meeting.
- Eleven workers who attended the meetings remained in the site’s crib sheds for several hours and it was not until 10.45 am that all employees returned to work.
It is alleged a WorkSafe inspection conducted at the site later in the morning determined the first aid bed did not expose any person to an immediate risk to their health or safety.
The ABCC is alleging Mr Parker and the CFMMEU organised unlawful industrial action in contravention of section 46 of the Building and Construction (Improving Productivity) Act 2016.
The 11 employees who took part in the unlawful industrial action by refusing to commence work are also respondents in the matter.