CFMEU tries to coerce contractor by allegedly forcing disruptions on NSW building sites

The CFMEU and thirteen of its officials including NSW State Secretary Brian Parker are facing the Federal Court over allegations they targeted BKH contractor’s building sites in Sydney in an attempt to force the contractor to sign-up to a CFMEU pattern enterprise agreement.

FWBC claims the dispute arose after a group of building contractors met with CFMEU official Darren Taylor to discuss the union’s new enterprise agreement proposal. It is alleged Mr Taylor told the group that if they didn’t sign the EBA the union would pick one of them and “smash” their jobs as a warning to other contractors.

Following the meeting, a BKH employee received a text message from CFMEU official Robert Kera that said “eenie, meenie, minie mo”. In February 2015 BKH workers voted against the CFMEU’s proposed EBA.

It is alleged the CFMEU then targeted BKH sites at Darling Harbour, Rhodes and Wolli Creek, engaging in multiple attempts to disrupt and delay the projects.

According to documents filed in court by FWBC, on 11 March 2015 CFMEU official Ben Garvey disrupted a concrete pour at the Rhodes site by shaking and kicking the safety rails until they were removed, then he allegedly instructed workers to leave the location due to the absence of safety rails.

It is also alleged vehicles were parked across the entrance to the Rhodes project to obstruct concrete trucks that were trying to enter the site. When a tow-truck was called to remove the vehicles, CFMEU officials Tom Rigby and Brendan Holl prevented their removal by sitting on the bonnets of the cars.

FWBC also alleges further action took place on the 16 and 17 March 2015 at the Wolli Creek site with a text message distributed to CFMEU organisers asking them to meet at the site where blockades were formed and gates were padlocked closed.

The thirteen CFMEU officials facing court are:

  • Brian Parker
  • Darren Taylor
  • Robert Kera
  • Brendan Holl
  • Mansour Rasaghi
  • Tom Rigby
  • Rebel Hanlon
  • Luke Collier
  • Darren Greenfield
  • Michael Greenfield
  • Tony Sloane
  • Ben Garvey
  • Benito Manna

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said building industry participants must be able to make decisions about their enterprise agreements without being coerced by any party.

“There are elements of this case that are particularly disturbing. Allegations that safety rails were forcefully removed in order to pursue an industrial agenda are very worrying. This reckless behavior is sadly just another example of where questionable safety claims have been bought to our attention,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

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