CFMEU facing court over improper behavior at Bendigo Theatre Project

The CFMEU and two of its officials, Nigel Davies and Alex Tadic, have been put before the Federal Court over allegations they contravened right-of-entry laws at a Bendigo construction site.

Under the Fair Work Act 2009, union officials who hold valid right-of-entry permits are able to access worksites if they comply with certain requirements.

Fair Work Building and Construction claims Mr Davies failed to comply with right-of-entry requirements when accessing the Bendigo Theatre Project construction site on 22 and 29 July 2014, while Mr Tadic is alleged to have breached right-of-entry rules when accessing the same site on 1 August 2014.

It is alleged that on 22 July 2014, Mr Davies accessed the project without providing 24 hours’ notice and without signing in at the site office. When the project manager asked to see Mr Davies’ right-of-entry permit, Mr Davies allegedly said “f*ck off” and “I won’t be showing you my permit”. Mr Davies allegedly continued to walk around the project site until police arrived, at which point he again refused to show his permit to the site occupier.

A week later on 29 July 2014, Mr Davies is alleged to have again entered the Bendigo Theatre Project construction site and refused to show the project manager a right-of-entry permit. Police were again called to the site.

FWBC further claims that on 1 August 2014, Mr Tadic and Mr Davies again entered the site for the purpose of inspecting access and egress safety issues. Shortly thereafter, the project manager approached Mr Tadic at the Fly Tower located within the site and asked what he was doing there.

It is alleged Mr Tadic responded by calling the project manager a “f*cking disgrace” and saying “I’m not dealing with a f*cking pen pusher… f*ck off”.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said the rights and responsibilities relating to right-of-entry provisions are clear and all building industry participants are expected to follow the rule of law.

“Unions have an important role to play especially when it comes to safety in the workplace. The right-of-entry regime is an important part of our workplace relations system that allows this to occur. Obtaining access to a construction site should therefore be treated seriously and not used as an opportunity to pursue other agendas or subject people to obscene language, abuse and intimidating behavior.” Mr Hadgkiss said.

“Union officials who hold right-of-entry permits must produce those permits when requested to do so on site. It is unacceptable for anyone to be abused for simply trying to comply with the law.”

A directions hearing for the matter has been set for 1 April 2016.

PDF icon Media release - CFMEU facing court over improper behaviour at Bendigo Theatre Project (PDF 32KB)