January - February 2016 Industry Update

Summary of recent Right of Entry Permit activity

Right-of-entry permits allow union officials to enter building worksites under certain circumstances. Within the building and construction industry, holding a permit is deemed a privilege and it is important that the rules governing the use of right-of-entry permits are followed by relevant personnel.

FWBC often makes submissions to the Fair Work Commission to refuse, revoke, suspend or amend an individual’s right-of-entry permit if concerns are raised regarding whether an individual meets the ‘fit and proper person’ criteria for holding a lawful permit.

A summary of permit activity undertaken by FWBC since 18 December is below

 

January 4 – Tony Mavromatis (AMWU – Victorian branch)

The Fair Work Commission has upheld an earlier decision to reject Mr Mavromatis’ application for a new right-of-entry permit.

In April 2015, the FWC refused to grant Mr Mavromatis’ application for a right-of-entry permit on the basis that it was not satisfied he was a fit and proper person to hold such a permit.

This decision was later appealed on the basis that the FWC should take into account whether any conditions could be imposed to a permit that would allow the Commission to be satisfied that Mr Mavromatis is a fit and proper person to hold a right-of-entry permit.

The AMWU submitted a number of conditions could be applied to a permit to meet this threshold, such as requiring Mr Mavromatis to notify the Commission if he is charged with an offence against industrial law.

FWBC argued the conditions put forward by the AMWU amounted to “an attempt to shut the gate after the horse had bolted”.

The Fair Work Commission agreed with FWBCs submission and upheld its original decision.

 

January 28 – Jacobus Merkx (CFMEU – South Australian branch)

The Fair Work Commission has determined that Jacobus Merkx is a fit and proper person to hold a right-of-entry permit and has ordered that a permit be issued.

FWBC opposed the application on the basis that the Federal Court had previously found Mr Merkx engaged in unlawful industrial action without any evidence of contrition.

However, the FWC found the penalty previously imposed on Mr Merkx was at the lower end of the scale and he has now expressed genuine contrition for his actions. Furthermore, the FWC found that Mr Merkx has a better understanding of his rights and responsibilities under the Fair Work Act (2009) and is therefore a fit a proper person to hold a permit.

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