The ABCC filed Federal Circuit Court proceedings on 29 April against the CFMMEU and two of its officials alleging they ignored a safety request and acted in an improper manner at the Westconnex Stage 2 site in Sydney in 2019.
The ABCC is alleging during construction of the M5 Beverly Hills to St Peters underground motorway tunnels, CFMMEU officials Simon Gutierrez and Adrian Carroll defied a direction to leave an isolation zone.
At the time the officials, who had not completed a site safety induction, entered the site’s main haul road where forklifts, excavators and large haul trucks were operating. Due to the proximity of equipment work had to be stopped.
In its statement of claim the ABCC is alleging the union officials ignored a reasonable request from the senior safety adviser to attend the site office.
After walking along the main haul road the union officials moved a barrier out of the way on the secondary haul road to access a construction area, while ignoring repeated directions to leave the area and return to the site office.
This was followed shortly after by an exchange in which Mr Gutierrez walked up to [the employee relations coordinator] who was taking notes, stood approximately 20 centimetres away from him and blew cigarette smoke in his face.
Mr Gutierrez then said to [the employee relations coordinator] words to the following effect:
‘It’s not a f***ing IR walk’;
‘Tranny, can you write that too?’; and
‘Are you learning to write English?’
The ABCC is alleging Mr Gutierrez contravened the Fair Work Act by acting in an improper manner by engaging in aggressive and intimidating conduct.
The ABCC further alleges both union officials acted in an improper manner by entering an isolation zone and failing to comply with a request from an authorised representative.
The maximum penalty for each contravention of the Fair Work Act is $63,000 for a body corporate and $12,600 for an individual.