Dave Hanna allegedly seeks secret side deal with company to end industrial action

The CFMEU and former Queensland President David Hanna are facing fines in the Federal Circuit Court over allegations they threatened to defy a return to work order from the Fair Work Commission unless a construction firm agreed to sign a Deed. The Deed in question would release the union from all claims of liability arising out of on-going industrial action on a Brisbane construction project.  

Fair Work Building and Construction claims Mr Hanna and the CFMEU were engaged in unprotected industrial action at the Brooklyn on Brookes Apartments project in Fortitude Valley for a period of nine days in April 2014.

Instead of ending the action after the Fair Work Commission issued an order for the unprotected industrial action to cease, Mr Hanna and the CFMEU are alleged to have arranged a meeting with the construction firm, where they threatened to continue the unprotected action unless the company agreed to sign the deed and make a deal with the union.

The alleged demands included:

  • Agreeing not to pursue the CFMEU or its officers for compensation relating to the unlawful protected action;
  • Agreeing to reinstate a former union site delegate  onto the project; and
  • Agreeing to keep all elements of the deal secret.

During the meeting, Mr Hanna is alleged to have referred to industrial action the CFMEU had engaged in at the Queensland Children’s Hospital project, saying that action lasted 12 weeks and the action at the Brooklyn Apartments project was only into week two. He is alleged to have said the CFMEU was prepared to continue the unprotected action until the deed was signed.

FWBC director Nigel Hadgkiss said all building industry participants must comply with the law, including orders issued by the Fair Work Commission.

“No-one is above the law. When the Fair Work Commission issues an order it must be obeyed. Threatening to defy the order and continue with unprotected action unless certain demands are met is unlawful of the Fair Work Act 2009,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

“For the building and construction industry to operate in a productive and harmonious manner, all participants need to respect our nation’s workplace laws. Unfortunately, in this industry we see far too many examples of people willfully refusing to comply with their legal responsibilities.”

It is notable that FWBC would not have been able to get this matter to court without the use of its compulsory powers. A directions hearing for has been set for 21 March 2016.

FWBC has already initiated separate proceedings related to the earlier instance of unlawful industrial action on the Brooklyn Apartments site. A penalty decision in that matter is pending.

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