Case name
Director of the Fair Work Industry Inspectorate v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union
Known as
Regional Rail Link
Commonwealth Courts Portal reference and link

VID282/2014

 

 

Applicant

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner

Respondent(s) at time of filing

CFMEU, Joseph Myles

Date filed
21 May 2014
State/Territory
VIC
Breach(es) found
Coercion
Status
Finalised
Link to penalty judgment

Director of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (No 2) [2016] FCA 436.

Full Court appeal Commonwealth Courts Portal reference and link

VID584/2016

High Court appeal Commonwealth Courts Portal reference and link

M65/2017

Link to Federal Court appeal judgment

Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union v Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (The Non-Indemnification Personal Payment Case) [2018] FCAFC 97

Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union v Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (The Non-Indemnification Personal Payment Case) (No 2) [2018] FCAFC 117

Link to High Court appeal judgment

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union [2018] HCA 3

Summary of court decision

The respondents admitted that in 2013 CFMMEU official Joseph Myles organised a blockade involving nine vehicles and around 20 individuals and prevented trucks carrying wet concrete from entering the Victorian Government’s Regional Rail site. This resulted in tonnes of concrete going to waste.

Mr Myles also made threats on 16 and 17 May 2013 with the intention of coercing two building contractors to comply with a request to have a CFMMEU delegate on the site. He also threatened the site superintendent with “war” if his demand was not met.

On 13 May 2016, the Federal Court imposed penalties against the CFMEU and its official Joseph Myles for his unlawful blockade.

The primary judge found in 2016 that there was “a conscious and deliberate strategy by the CFMEU and its officers to engage in disruptive, threatening and abusive behaviour towards employers without regard to the lawfulness of that action, and impervious to the prospect of prosecution and penalties”.

For his breaches of the Fair Work Act, Mr Myles was ordered to personally pay his penalty.

The CFMEU appealed the primary judge’s decision and the Full Federal Court upheld the CFMEU’s appeal. The ABCC then appealed to the High Court.

On 14 February 2018, the High Court ruled in favour of the ABCC and confirmed the Federal Court can order a union official to personally pay a penalty and not seek reimbursement or indemnity from the union.

In handing down its judgment, the High Court said:

“An order that a contravener must not seek or receive indemnity from his or her co-contravener…assists in accomplishing the calculated level of sting or burden of the pecuniary penalty…”

On 25 June 2018, the Full Federal Court ordered Mr Myles to personally pay a $19,500 penalty. In addition, the penalty imposed on the CFMMEU was increased to $111,000 for three contraventions of the Fair Work Act.

In imposing penalties, the Full Federal Court found:

“The history of contravening by the Union, all undertaken through its officials, reflects a willingness to contravene the Act and pay the penalties as a cost of its approach to industrial relations.

“A personal payment order … will bring home to [Mr Myles], and others in his position, that… they cannot act in contravention of the Act knowing that Union funds will always bale him, or them, out.”

Penalities

Penalties awarded against

Penalties awarded

CFMMEU

111,000

Joseph Myles

$19,500

Total

$130,500

Total penalities

$130,500

Related content

Media release: Federal Court makes first personal payment order against CFMMEU repeat offender

Media release: Landmark ruling: CFMMEU official to feel sting of penalties for breaking the law

Media release: High Court rules in favour of ABCC: Court can order officials personally pay penalties