The Federal Court has penalised the CFMMEU and its official Bradley Upton $51,300 for abusing and threatening construction workers on the Gorgon LNG Project in Western Australia.

The ABCC launched legal action in the Federal Court against both the CFMMEU and Mr Upton following the 2015 incident in which Mr Upton abused workers for not being members of the union and called them ‘f---g dog c--ts’. 

The threats directed at employees included:

  • “We’re going to put your names on the back of toilet doors.”
  • “This is a f---g union site, we have other union sites starting up next year and if you’re not in the union, you can f--k off too, you are not welcome.”

In a decision handed down today, Justice Barker said:

Mr Upton’s behaviour and conduct at the meeting of employees on December 2015 was quite appalling.

The language used was intended to intimidate employees into accepting that they must be union members if they wanted work.

It is common, it seems, for some members of unions to believe that any manner of foul language or intimidatory conduct is par for the course at a union meeting…It is precisely that sort of conduct that gives unions and union representatives a bad name.

There is no warrant or excuse for the sort of behaviour that Mr Upton engaged in.

the CFMEU… has to take responsibility for the conduct of its officials and surely, at one point or another, must begin to take positive steps to educate its officials not to contravene the law and as to proper standards of conduct.

ABC Commissioner Stephen McBurney said no worker should have to put up with threats and intimidation to join a union if they didn’t want to.

“The judgment speaks for itself, this type of threatening behaviour needs to be called out in the strongest possible terms and this decision does just that,” Mr McBurney said.

For more information view the ABCC legal case summary.