Industry Update

Court summary: finalised matters

$19,000 total penalties for unlawful industrial action

  • On 21 February the Federal Court handed down a penalty of $1,000 on each of 19 employees who walked off a waste water treatment plant in Perth, causing a scheduled concrete pour to be delayed.
  • At the time of the action, the employees were covered by an enterprise agreement that was not set to expire until September 2017.
  • In handing down the judgment, Justice Siopsis said the employees’ actions in withdrawing their labour without notice was “a deliberate and serious contravention”.

CFMEU ordered to pay $96,000 over Melbourne Port blockade

  • On 8 February 2017 the CFMEU and two of its organisers, Joe Myles and Adam Hall were ordered to pay penalties totalling $96,000 after blockading work at the $1.6 billion Port of Melbourne expansion project and threatening to have 20,000 workers join the dispute.
  • In handing down the decision, Justice Jessup said “the inference that the CFMEU will always prefer its own interests… to compliance with the law is a compelling one”.
  • ABCC Commissioner Nigel Hadgkiss said the Port of Melbourne expansion is an important infrastructure project for Victoria’s economy and noted that this was the fifth occasion in recent times Mr Myles had been penalised for breaching workplace laws.

$57,500 penalty for CFMEU’s 'Armageddon' threat at Royal Adelaide Hospital

  • On 20 January the Federal Court handed down penalties totalling $57,500 to the CFMEU and two of its bosses, SA State Secretary Aaron Cartledge and former Assistant Secretary Michael McDermott.
  • The officials were found to have threatened “Armageddon” and national industrial action in a dispute at the Royal Adelaide Hospital site with the intention of deterring the head contractor from enforcing a Fair Work Commission order requiring employees on the project not to take industrial action.
  • In handing down the penalties, Justice Besanko took into account the CFMEU’s “significant record of non-compliance” with workplace laws, particularly those provisions relating to coercion.
  • ABCC Commissioner Nigel Hadgkiss said the decision meant that $1,126,600 in penalties have been imposed by the Federal Court against the CFMEU and its representatives for proven unlawful conduct that occurred across Adelaide in a nine-month period.

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