Industry Update

Court summary - new matters

The ABCC commenced two new court proceedings during August, one in Victoria and the other in Western Australia.  The CFMEU and certain representatives were named as respondents in both matters.

Legal action against CFMEU for allegedly threatening to shut down Melbourne project

Federal Court proceedings were launched on 9 August 2017 against the CFMEU and two of its representatives for allegedly preventing non-financial union members from working at a Melbourne construction site.  The ABCC has alleged that:

  • Threats were made by CFMEU delegate Mario Raspudic to “shut the whole site down” at the University College project unless a worker became a member of the union in March 2016.

  • Raspudic had allowed one union member to start work but prevented two other non-financial members from working at the site.

  • Raspudic approached a worker and said words to the effect: “You can’t do any work until you join up with the union” and grabbed a worker’s laptop and attempted to pull it from his grasp during a short struggle.

  • In May 2016 CFMEU official Mark Travers threatened a contractor on the project that unless it paid "union rates" it could not continue its contract on the site.

ABCC Commissioner Nigel Hadgkiss said workers cannot be prevented from working on Australian construction sites based whether or not they choose to be a member of the CFMEU.  A directions hearing was set down for 1 September 2017.

CFMEU facing legal action for alleged unlawful picket threat at Perth Stadium

On 8 August 2017, the ABCC launched legal action against the CFMEU and one of its officials for allegedly undertaking coercive and adverse action on the Perth Stadium site by threatening to set up a picket line.  In the Statement of Claim, the ABCC alleged that:

  • CFMEU organiser Walter (Vinnie) Molina threatened to set up a picket line at the construction site in August 2016 if a subcontractor’s workers were sent back to work after a work meeting.

  • Molina addressed a meeting of around 500 workers after which approximately 30 to 50 per cent of the workers left the site.

The action is alleged to contravene the coercion and adverse action provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009.  The matter has been listed for a case management hearing on 11 September 2017.

Summaries of all current and finalised ABCC initiated legal case summaries are available on our website.

Return to newsletters