- Freedom of association
Summary of outcome
Consolidated Power Projects Australia Pty Ltd (CPP) agreed to pay $295,000 to a subcontractor after entering into an enforceable undertaking with the Australian Building and Construction Commission.
CPP was contracted by AusNet Electricity Services Pty Ltd (AusNet) to perform work at the Springvale Terminal Station Redevelopment Project located in Springvale, Victoria.
On 13 August 2019, CPP entered into a Labour Supply Subcontract with the subcontractor to install high voltage electrical equipment.
The following day, CPP became aware the Electrical Trades Union disapproved of the subcontractor. CPP advised the subcontractor words to the effect of:
The ETU are unhappy that [the subcontractor] will be utilised on the project.
CPP requested that the subcontractor leave the site and continue to work offsite.
In the following days, various emails were exchanged and discussions held between CPP and the subcontractor concerning various options that would allow the subcontractor to return to work on the site.
There was ultimately no resolution and on 23 September 2019 CPP terminated the subcontract.
CPP acknowledged that the ABCC Commissioner had formed a reasonable belief that CPP contravened section 55 of the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 (BCIIP Act) by terminating the subcontract with the subcontractor because it did not have an enterprise agreement.
Without any admission that any contravention of the BCIIP Act has occurred, CPP has agreed to pay the subcontractor $295,000 in compensation.
The ABCC Commissioner published details of this matter to:
- deter others from engaging in unlawful discrimination
- educate building industry participants that they cannot discriminate against building industry contractors because they do not have an enterprise agreement.