The ABCC has filed Federal Court proceedings alleging the CFMMEU and four of its officials, together with SA company Core-Form Pty Ltd and two of its directors unlawfully picketed the $27 million East Terrace apartments building site in Adelaide. The allegations also include sexist remarks towards a female employee.
The respondents in this matter are:
- Andrew Sutherland, Acting South Australian Secretary of the CFMMEU
- Desmond Savage, Assistant South Australian State Secretary of the CFMMEU
- Clarence Fellowes, CFMMEU official
- Margues Pare, CFMMEU official
- Core-Form Pty Ltd
- Andrew Sneath, Director of Core-Form
- Paul Niblock, Director of Core-Form
The ABCC alleges on 16 October 2019, a group of 20 to 30 people, including the four CFMMEU officials, unlawfully picketed the site, with several picketers wearing CFMMEU clothing and waving CFMMEU flags shouting ‘Pig’, ‘Dog’, ‘Wanker’, ‘Grub’ and ‘grubby-grub-grub.’
It is alleged the unlawful picket was motivated by a commercial dispute between the head contractor and Core-Form Pty Ltd in relation to work performed at the site.
In its statement of claim filed in the Federal Court, the ABCC alleges:
- The picketers harassed people seeking entry to the site, including a female employee of the head contractor, with the picketers calling her a ‘daddy’s girl’ and a ‘blonde-bimbo’.
- The female employee was unable to leave the site to get building supplies for fear of her personal safety.
- The lawyer of the head contractor had her vehicle obstructed by the picketers, who mobbed the car while she attempted to move it.
- The picketers held union branded flags and signs, while many of them shouted insults at the head contractor and its workers.
- Upon hearing the South Australian Police had been telephoned, the picketers disbanded and left the site.
The ABCC alleges the respondent’s conduct contravened section 47 of the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 (BCIIP Act). The maximum penalty for each contravention of the BCIIP Act is $210,000 for a body corporate and $42,000 for an individual.
The ABCC is seeking personal payment orders (PPO) to be awarded against each of the CFMMEU officials. A PPO is a court order that requires the pecuniary penalty imposed on an individual respondent to be personally paid by that individual.