The ABCC* launched proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court over allegations workers on a South Brisbane apartment construction site downed tools in response to a visit by government officials.
The proceedings are against J Hutchinson Pty Ltd T/A Hutchinson Builders, the CFMEU, CFMEU organisers Michael Myles and Mark O’Brien.
In a statement of claim filed in the Federal Circuit Court, the ABCC alleges:
- On 9 December 2013, two investigators from the then Building Construction Compliance Branch (BCCB) of Queensland attended the construction site.
- Mr Myles subsequently entered the site, approached a number of the project employees and requested they stop work and go to the lunchroom. It is alleged Mr Myles told representatives of Hutchinson Builders words to the effect of “this is what we do if these kind of people are on the job…our boys are in the shed until they leave…end of story.”
- Mr Myles subsequently told a Hutchinson Builders representative words to the effect: “you’ve got to understand when they come here we’re going to pull everybody off the job”.
- After the investigators left, Mr Myles and Mr O’Brien addressed the employees in the lunchroom for approximately five minutes, and the employees subsequently returned to their work.
- Mr Myles and Mr O’Brien then met with the Hutchinson Builders representatives 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”.
As a result of the above events, Mr Myles, Mr O’Brien and the CFMEU are alleged to have contravened s471(1) of the Fair Work Act 2009 by organising unlawful industrial action.
The ABCC alleges that Hutchinson Builders made payments to each of their 14 employees involved in the industrial action on the basis that they had worked as scheduled without deducting four hours pay, in contravention of s474(1)(b) of the Fair Work Act.
*This matter was originally filed by Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC). On 2 December 2016, FWBC became the ABCC.