22 April 2016$937,100 in penalties imposed on CFMEU for unlawful conduct across Adelaide

The Federal Court has today issued orders penalising the CFMEU and 15 of its officials a total of $937,100 in relation to seven cases stemming from unlawful conduct on building sites across Adelaide in 2014.

Fair Work Building and Construction initiated these seven proceedings, along with a number of other matters, after a spike in unlawful activity on South Australian construction sites saw 26 projects impacted by various CFMEU officials, including 19 who flew in from interstate.

In one of the cases concluded today it was found that 10 CFMEU officials targeted various lend lease sites between dates.

At the Adelaide Oval project South Australian CFMEU Assistant State Secretary Michael McDermott was found to have removed safety bunting during a cricket match, breach the safety exclusion zone and then invite a bystander into the exclusion zone.

At the Flinders University site, CFMEU officials were found to threaten to cause major disruptions unless the CFMEU flag was flown from the crane hook.

In another matter, CFMEU official Derek Christopher was found to use his elbow and shoulder to push the project manager and gain entrance to the Quest apartment site.

Justice White said he had previously described the CFMEU’s record as being dismal in the case of DFWBII v Stephenson (2014) and that description was just as apt now as it was then.

“(The union’s prior history) bespeaks an attitude by the CFMEU of ignoring, if not defying, the law and a willingness to contravene it as and when it chooses,” Justice White said.

Substantial penalties have been imposed on the CFMEU in the past. They have not been sufficient to deter the CFMEU from further contraventions. This suggests that the penalties to be imposed on it now must be even more severe.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said the result reflected poorly upon the state of the industry

I welcome His Honour’s decision this afternoon, but regret to say these are yet more examples of the contempt for the rule of law which exists in Australia’s building and construction industry.  This kind of coercive behaviour comes at an enormous cost to the industry and national economy,” Mr Hadgkiss said

Obviously, workers on Australia’s building sites would prefer that this type of behaviour did not occur at all.  All I ask is that all building industry participants, be they employers, workers or unions, simply obey the law.  My agency is consistently dealing with cases where these kinds of laws are purposely ignored, or deliberately breached.

 

DFWBII-v-CFMEU & Ors (SAD 300 of 2014)

 

Respondent

Penalty

CFMEU

$456,000

Luke Stephenson

$3,000

John Lomax

$3,000

Mohammed Kalem

$3,750

James O’Connor

$1,800

Bill Beattie

$5,300

Michael McDermott

$9,700

Stephen Long

$4,400

Brett Harrison

$1,200

Darren Roberts

$2,200

Mark Gava

$3,800

Total

$494,150

 

DFWBII-v-James O’Connor & Anor (SAD 302 of 2014)

Respondent

Penalty

CFMEU

$27,500

James O’Connor

$2,500

Total

$30,000

 

DFWBII-v-David Bolten &Ors (SAD 305 of 2014)

Respondent

Penalty

CFMEU

$48,000

David Bolton

$2,000

Michael Huddy

$1,500

Total

$51,500

 

DFWBII-v-Michael McDermott & Ors (SAD 303 of 2014)

Respondent

Penalty

CFMEU

$85,000

Michael McDermott

$3,750

Luke Stephenson

$2,500

Derek Christopher

$3,000

Total

$94,250

 

DFWBII-v-Michael McDermott & Anor (SAD 306 of 2014)

Respondent

Penalty

CFMEU

$131,500

Michael McDermott

$3,750

Luke Stephenson

$4,500

Derek Christopher

$6,500

Total

$146,250

 

 

 

DFWBII-v-Michael McDermott & Ors (SAD 304 of 2014)

Respondent

Penalty

CFMEU

$60,000

Michael McDermott

$3,750

Derek Christopher

$3,000

Total

$66,750

 

DFWBII-v-CFMEU & Ors (SAD 219 of 2014)

Respondent

Penalty

CFMEU

$48,000

Aaron Cartledge

$3,750

Luke Stephenson

$1,750

David Kirner

$700

Total

$54,200

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