Industry Update

Court Summary - Finalised matters

Five matters have been finalised in the Courts following the previous edition of Industry Update. A summary of the outcomes are outlined below:

Court fines Baulderstone & two senior managers in freedom of association case

10 August 2015

Baulderstone was fined $25,000, Mr Razz Razlog and Ms Nicole Kidman (two former senior managers) $3,500 each, for changing the employment terms of a worker who resigned from a union by having him sign documents changing him from a contractor to an employee, after he resigned as a CFMEU member.

Judge Manousaridis found that “the conduct was deliberate and concerted”, noting FWBC’s submission that the victim “was a vulnerable worker because of his shyness, limited education, and lack of understanding” of what he was signing.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said everyone had the right to choose whether or not to be a member of an industry or employer association.

Federal Court fines CFMEU official Jimmy O'Connor $12,000 for contempt of court

14 August 2015

The Federal Court’s Justice Mansfield ordered CFMEU official Jimmy O’Connor to pay a $12,000 fine for contempt of court after he threatened a subcontractor unless the subcontractor employed a particular person affiliated with the union.

His Honour also ordered Mr O’Connor to pay FWBC’s costs, which exceed $100,000.

The contempt of court finding follows an earlier decision where Justice Mansfield fined the CFMEU and five current and former officials a total of $152,500 and prohibited Mr O’Connor from entering two sites in Adelaide unless lawfully under right of entry permit.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said he understood union officials had important work to do and all his agency asks is that they conduct that work within the law.

CFMEU fined $45,000 after attempting to coerce builder into paying its employees’ union fees

17 August 2015

The Federal Court has fined the CFMEU and its officials Adam Olsen and Kane Pearson a total of $45,600 after both officials misused their right of entry permits by unlawfully entered a Darwin building site on two occasions in June 2013.

Mr Olsen attempted to coerce the building company into paying union memberships on behalf of its workers.

His Honour Justice Mansfield said: “The general picture is that he (Pearson), and others of the Union largely under his direction or leadership, entered the Site not for the legitimate purpose or the legitimate exercise of their right of entry but to indicate the extent to which the union could, if so minded, disrupt the efficient progress of a building site…”

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said: “No one should be coerced, whether they be a worker, employer, union official or union. I would like to commend the building company in this case, who reported this incident to FWBC very quickly, as is required under the Building Code 2013.”

Federal Court fines CFMEU $225,000 for “abusive and misleading” conduct

10 September 2015

The Federal Court handed down fines totalling $272,500 to the CFMEU and its officials Chad Bragdon and Anthony Kong for breaching right of entry laws at the Sydney Domestic Airport site in June 2013, rejecting that they were onsite for safety reasons.

Justice Flick said that Mr Kong, who told the project manager he was crocodile hunter Steve Irvwin,  and Mr Bragdon must pay their own fines, and that they must not be paid by the CFMEU.

“Safety rules exist to protect everybody on site. Safety is paramount on building and construction sites and it is appalling that union officials are abusing safety which potentially puts them and others at risk,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

More fines for CFMEU after Emporium Blockade

11 November 2015

The Federal Court imposed fines totalling $151,000 on the CFMEU, Victorian State Secretary John Setka, Assistant Secretary Shaun Reardon and President Ralph Edwards for blockading part of Melbourne’s CBD during August and September 2012 after the head contractor resisted demands for union-nominated shop steward to be employed. 

Justice Tracey found that during the disupute, senior officials engaged in menacing, threatening and violent behavior and was scathing in his decision saying “(the officials’ behaviour) bespeak a deplorable attitude, on the part of the CFMEU, to its legal obligations and the statutory process which govern relations between unions and employers in this country”.

The fines follow the Victorian Supreme Court previously penalising the CFMEU $1.25 million for criminal contempt. The union is also reported to have paid $3.55 million to Grocon in legal costs.


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