The ABCC has filed Federal Court proceedings against the CFMMEU and its delegate Jason Roach alleging they coerced and made misrepresentations to a subcontractor that unless their union fees were paid, they could not commence work on the Melbourne Quarter – Commercial Tower 2MQ project.
In its statement of claim, the ABCC alleges on 20 April 2020, subcontractors arrived at the construction site to commence works.
After completing a site induction, Mr Roach asked the subcontractors whether they had their ‘cards’ and checked their CFMMEU membership details. After checking these details, it is alleged Mr Roach had a conversation with one of the subcontractors to the following effect:
Roach: “It says you owe $500”;
Subcontractor: “I don’t want to pay that”;
Roach: “Well if you don’t pay the $500 you can’t work here”;
Subcontractor: “Really, I can’t work here?”
Subcontractor: “So you’re telling me that unless I pay that $500, I can’t work on site?”; and
Roach: “Nope, not until you pay your $500”.
It is alleged the subcontractor was prevented by the CFMMEU delegate from performing work because he had not paid his membership fees to the CFMMEU. Soon after this conversation, the subcontractor left the construction site without performing the caulking works.
It is also alleged the CFMMEU delegate engaged in unlawful misrepresentations about being required to pay union membership fees before being allowed to perform work at the construction site.
The ABCC is alleging the conduct contravenes the coercion and misrepresentations provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009.
The maximum penalty for contraventions of sections 348 and 349(1) of the Fair Work Act 2009 is $63,000 for a body corporate and $12,600 for an individual.