The CFMMEU and seven of its officials have been penalised $522,000 by the Federal Court for month-long strikes and work stoppages at construction sites across six Brisbane sites in 2016.
The unlawful industrial action was aimed at forcing a major contractor to only employ subcontractors who had entered into an enterprise agreement with the CFMMEU or CFMMEU approved unions.
CFMMEU officials Matthew Parfitt, Justin Steele, Kurt Pauls, Edward Bland, Antonio Floro, Anthony Stott and Michael Davis targeted nine sites, instigating strikes and disrupting work 16 times from 25 August 2016 to 27 September 2016.
The unlawful conduct impacted large scale projects including the Skytower project and Newstead Central apartment development.
On a number of occasions, union officials told the contractor’s representatives the work stoppages were not related to the specific sites, but were aimed at the head contractor because it was not consulting with the CFMMEU and was using “non-EBA subcontractors”.
In one instance of strike action at the Hercules Apartments site, Mr Parfitt told the site manager “it’s bigger than you”, and that the headcontractor was “f*cked and aren’t playing the game”.
The disruptions resulted in a number of concrete pours being cancelled and at the Opera Apartments site, Mr Steele told a site manager “Just call the concrete pour off and I will leave the site.”
At the time of the conduct in 2016, the ABCC sucessfuly obtained an injunction to prevent further strikes.
The Court also noted: “The level of coordination of action across the various [contractor’s] sites over the month long period indicates involvement of more senior officers of the CFMMEU”.
Her Honour said “it is in my view apparent that the actions of the CFMMEU, through its officials and employees, was orchestrated to take place on particular dates to cause maximum disruption on those dates”.
ABC Commissioner Stephen McBurney said the unlawful conduct in this case was a serious concern.
“The overwhelming pressure applied in this case was aimed at forcing a head contractor to discriminate against smaller subcontractors who did not have CFMMEU enterprise agreements,” Mr McBurney said.
“These are often small-to-medium sized businesses and the unlawful behaviour seen in this case could have impacted their businesses and their workers’ livelihood.”