The Full Federal Court today handed down penalties totalling $430,000 for unlawful industrial action taken at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital and two other Brisbane construction sites.
Work at the three major projects, worth more than a billion dollars combined, was stopped after more than 600 workers downed their tools on 24, 25 and 26 May 2011.
The Full Federal Court today found the actions of CFMEU officials was part of a “highly coordinated and deliberately orchestrated campaign” at the Children’s Hospital, Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) and Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The Full Court found the CFMEU had a prior history that “reveal a lamentable, if not disgraceful, record of deliberately flouting industrial laws” (and was) “a recidivist when it comes to contravening industrial laws.”
The Court said that prior penalties had not reduced the CFMEU’s willingness to breach the law and “it continues to thumb its nose at the industrial laws.”
“the CFMEU's record of past transgressions means that there is no reason to afford it any particular leniency based on its past behaviour.”
The CFMEU was penalised $300,000 for its actions at the three construction sites. The CEPU received a penalty of $130,000 for the unlawful industrial action at the Children’s Hospital and the QIMR.
The Full Court said “the CFMEU was plainly aware that the action was unlawful” (and was) “designed to apply pressure to the Queensland Government through unlawful industrial action.”
ABCC Commissioner Nigel Hadgkiss said the decision reflected a pattern of unlawful behaviour on Australian construction sites.
“The CFMEU and CEPU intentionally organised a halt to work on critical taxpayer-funded projects including a new Children’s Hospital and a medical research facility,” Mr Hadgkiss said.
“The ABCC will continue to investigate and act on unlawful conduct in the industry, especially where it impacts major public infrastructure.
“We are committed to bringing to an end the flagrant disregard for the law shown by certain elements of the building industry, whether employers, employees or unions.”
See also: ABCC Legal Case Summary