Case name
Director of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate v Michael Huddy and Others
Known as
Ichthys LNG Project
Commonwealth Courts Portal reference and link

NTD33/2014

Applicant

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner

Respondent(s) at time of filing

CFMEU, Michael Huddy, Craig Tait, 66 others

Date filed
4 September 2014
State/Territory
NT
Breach(es) found
Industrial action
Status
Finalised
Link to liability judgement

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Huddy [2017] FCA 739

Link to penalty judgement

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Huddy (No 2) [2017] FCA 1088

Summary of court decision

On 30 June 2017 the Court found the CFMEU, Mr Huddy and Mr Tait contravened ss. 50, 417, 343, 348 and 500 of Fair Work Act, 61 individual employee respondents contravened ss.50 and 417 of the Fair Work Act and 1 employee respondent contravened s.417 of the Fair Work Act. Total penalties of $144,450 were imposed - included $25,000 CFMEU, $16,000 Mr Huddy and $12,250 Mr Tait and $91,200 for 62 employee respondents.

The ABCC* commenced proceedings in the Darwin Federal Court against CFMEU organiser Michael Huddy, CFMEU delegate Craig Tait, the CFMEU and 66 employees of Laing O’Rourke Construction Australia Pty Ltd (LOR).

The ABCC alleged Mr Huddy and Mr Tait were involved in industrial action at the Ichthys LNG Project on 22 October 2013, commencing immediately after a meeting with LOR’s employees at the site during the morning break. The focus of the meeting were demands by workers relating to the time that buses left the project each day to take the workers to their accommodation.

The Ichthys LNG Project is the Northern Territory’s largest-ever construction project. The ABCC alleged that the industrial action at the project was intended to coerce the employer to meet the workers’ demands regarding bus pick-up times.

At the time of the alleged industrial action, an Enterprise Agreement was in operation, which covered the CFMEU and LOR’s employees who were employed to perform on-Site construction at the project.

The Enterprise Agreement contained a clause requiring that disagreements or disputes be dealt with in a prescribed way. It was alleged that at one point Mr Huddy said to the workers: “Don’t give in to these fellas. One day of protest is nothing compared to four years of twenty minutes every day”.

The ABCC alleged that the workers’ failure to return to work constituted unlawful industrial action in breach of the Fair Work Act. It was also alleged that the CFMEU, through the actions of its organiser and on-site delegate, breached the Fair Work Act.

The ABCC further alleged Mr Huddy, Mr Tait and the workers breached the enterprise agreement failing to try and resolve the dispute using the agreement's dispute resolution clause.

* This matter was originally filed by Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC). On 2 December 2016, FWBC became the ABCC.

Penalities

Penalties awarded against

Penalties awarded

CFMEU

$25,000

Michael Huddy

$16,000

Craig Tait

$12,250

62 others

$91,200

Total

$144,450

Total penalities

$144,450

Related content
Media release – Court orders $145,950 in penalties over unlawful industrial action at NT gas project