January - February 2016 Industry Update

Court summary - Finalised matters

One matter has been finalised in Court following the previous edition of Industry Update on 18 December 2015. A summary of the case is below.

 

CFMEU and President fined $245,000: “Has there ever been a worse recidivist in the history of the common law?”

  • The CFMEU and its Victorian/Tasmanian Branch President Ralph Edwards incurred penalties of up to $245,000 in the Federal Court for trying to coerce a Melbourne-based scaffolding company to hire a CFMEU shop steward.
  • The Court found Mr Edwards instructed CFMEU officers to prevent the scaffolding company from entering worksites until the company had complied with the union’s demands to employ a shop steward.
  • During a penalty hearing held last month, Justice Jessup highlighted the CFMEU’s poor record of law breaking, posing the question:  “Has there ever been a worse recidivist in the history of the common law?”
  • In delivering today’s decision, Justice Jessup was equally critical of the CFMEU’s willingness to break the law saying he was not aware of a situation where the “previous record (was) as egregious as that of the Union in the circumstances presently facing the court”.
  • In addition to the penalties imposed by the Court, the CFMEU must also pay more than $20,000 in compensation to the scaffolding company.

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