The ABCC* commenced proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court against the CFMEU and four of its officials after they allegedly organised unlawful industrial action at a Queensland University of Technology construction site for six days in 2014. It is alleged that the action was intended to coerce the head contractor to remove a safety manager whom the union wanted removed.
In a statement of claim filed in the Federal Circuit Court, the ABCC alleges:
- Due to a mistaken belief that the safety manager on the QUT Creative Industries Precinct Project had provided workers’ details to FWBC, CFMEU officials Michael Myles, Kevin Griffin, Ryan Whakaruru and Duncan McAllister demanded that the head contractor stand the site manager down.
- On 11 September 2014, Mr Myles addressed a group of 80-100 workers and called a vote on whether to work on the project or to withdraw labour. The workers subsequently left the site for the day.
- Despite the Fair Work Commission ruling that industrial action on the site cease and no further industrial action be organised, workers scheduled to perform work at the site on 13 September 2014 did not show up. Two-hour stop-work meetings were also held on 15 and 16 September. Work resumed on 17 September 2014.
- The officials organised further industrial action on 9 and 10 October 2014 after again meeting with site management to demand the safety manager be stood down. Mr Griffin told the site manager, “The boys have decided to sit this out until there is a resolution”.
- Workers later returned to work on 10 October on the condition that the workers would not talk to or acknowledge the safety manager.
*This matter was originally filed by Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC). On 2 December 2016, FWBC became the ABCC.