The ABCC* commenced proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court against Forest Meiers Construction (FMC) and three of its officers (William Munro, Song Poh (Peter) Sia and Oswald Blacker) for allegedly taking adverse action and discriminating against a tiling subcontractor for not having an agreement with the CFMEU, despite the company being the preferred bidder for the project.
In a statement of claim filed in the Federal Circuit Court the ABCC alleges:
- FMC invited the tiling company to submit a tender for its Remora Road project in Hamilton, Queensland. When FMC asked if the tiling company had an EBA with the CFMEU, the company’s managing director said he already had a (non-union) enterprise agreement registered with the Fair Work Commission but was happy to pay the union rates for the purposes of the project.
- The company’s managing director then agreed to an FMC proposal to register a new company so it could sign up to the CFMEU’s enterprise agreement. Following this undertaking, FMC signed a Revised Commitment Authority and informed the tiling company of its decision to engage them for almost $2.5 million worth of work on the Remora Road project.
- However, when the CFMEU refused to enter into an EBA with the tiling company, FMC reneged on the undertaking and instead engaged a rival tiling firm. Mr Munro wrote in an email to the original firm that “… we have reviewed the industrial relations side of things and confirm that we will proceed with the next tenderer…The consequences of an ongoing protracted scenario with the CFMEU is real with escalating costs both to this project as well as others…”
The ABCC alleges that the conduct constitutes adverse action and discrimination by Forest Meiers against the tiling company.
*This matter was originally filed by Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC). On 2 December 2016, FWBC became the ABCC.