Industry Update

Court summary: finalised matters

CFMEU penalised $86,000 after trying to force Qld workers to join the union

  • The CFMEU and a union delegate were penalised $86,000 after attempting to force two Brisbane construction workers to join their union or be turned away from the site.
  • The Federal Circuit Court found the union’s Daniel Barker had demanded the workers pay $1,290 in fees or they wouldn’t be able to work on a Kelvin Grove apartment project.
  • In his decision on 30 May, Judge Jarrett said the contraventions were serious because they had deprived two men of the right to work.
  • He said the penalties reflected what he described as “the CFMEU's deplorable history of compliance with industrial laws”.
  • ABCC Commissioner Nigel Hadgkiss said it was against the law to try force workers join a union to enter a construction site. “Membership of a union doesn't determine a person’s ability to earn a living in this industry,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

Judge orders maximum penalty against former Queensland CFMEU boss

  • A court has imposed the maximum penalty possible on former Queensland CFMEU President Dave Hanna for breaching right of entry laws during a heated site visit in Brisbane.
  • Mr Hanna was ordered on 26 May to pay the maximum penalty of $10,200 for his conduct on a construction site at Fortitude Valley in 2015.
  • He admitted in the Federal Circuit Court that when he was asked for his right of entry permit he raised his middle finger and said he didn’t need one.
  • When a site manager attempted to record the incident, Mr Hanna admitted saying: “Take that phone away or I’ll (expletive) bury it down your throat.”
  • ABCC Commissioner Nigel Hadgkiss said the imposition of the maximum penalty available by the court demonstrated the seriousness of this unlawful conduct. “There is no place for threatening physical violence on Australian construction sites,” he said.

Court penalises CFMEU leaders in $277,000 Perth Children’s Hospital decision

  • The CFMEU and seven of its officials, including senior union leaders Dave Noonan (National Secretary), Mick Buchan (WA State Secretary) and Joe McDonald (former national president) were penalised for unlawful conduct at the $1.2 billion Perth Children’s Hospital project.
  • Penalties totalling $277,000 were imposed on 11 May as a result of a series of unlawful blockades at the hospital site in 2013.
  • On one occasion, around 400 people blockaded the main entrance, preventing a large concrete pour involving 45 trucks.
  • In other incidents, the union organised a blockade which prevented 200 workers from entering the site, while a senior CFMEU official also admitted to attempting to prevent workers from entering the site by using physical restraint.
  • ABCC Commissioner Nigel Hadgkiss said it was unacceptable for the union to have blockaded a major new hospital for children. “Once again, the CFMEU has chosen to use its industrial muscle in preference to complying with the law,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

 

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