The Federal Circuit Court imposed total penalties of $35,700 against the CFMMEU and its representative Mark O’Brien and former official Michael Myles, after workers at a South Brisbane apartment site downed their tools in response to a visit by Queensland Government officers.
Hutchinson Builders was also penalised $1,200 for contravening strike pay provisions in the Fair Work Act after they made payments to each of their 10 employees who engaged in the unlawful industrial action.
- On 9 December 2013, two inspectors from the Queensland Government’s then Building Construction Compliance Branch (BCCB) attended the $53 million Arena Apartment’s site to conduct an audit.
- During the inspectors’ visit Mr Myles entered the site and directed a number of the employees to stop work and go to the lunch room.
- When approached by employees of Hutchinson Builders about his presence on the site, Mr Myles said words to the effect: “This is what we do if these kind of people [BCCB inspectors] are on the job…our boys in the shed until they leave…end of story.”
- Mr Myles also told the team leader from Hutchinson words to the effect: “You’ve got to understand when they come here we’re going to pull everybody off the job”.
- Mr Myles and Mr O’Brien addressed the employees in the lunchroom and following the meeting employees returned to work.
- Mr Myles and Mr O’Brien then met with representatives of Hutchinson Builders who were told “if they [BCCB] step foot on any of your projects, we will be there within five minutes flat and we will be stopping the job and that’s a nationwide directive from the top”.
In handing down the penalty judgment, Judge Jarrett said of the CFMMEU’s conduct:
|Penalties awarded against||Penalties awarded|
|Hutchinson Builders||$1,200 (subject to appeal)|