September - October 2016 Industry Update

Court summary – new matters

Since the last issue of Industry Update, FWBC has commenced proceedings in the following four matters.

Summaries of all current and past FWBC-initiated Court proceedings are available on our website.

FWBC seeks urgent court injunction to end work disruptions across Brisbane

  • FWBC has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against the CFMEU and seven of its officials following a month-long spate of strikes and work stoppages at construction sites across Brisbane.
  • FWBC alleges that CFMEU officials Matthew Parfitt, Justin Steele, Kurt Pauls, Edward Bland, Antonio Floro, Anthony Stott and Michael Davis have targeted nine sites run by a major contractor, instigating strikes and disrupting work a total of fifteen times.
  • On a number of occasions union officials allegedly told the contractor’s representatives that the action was not related to the affected site but was aimed at the head contractor in response to it not consulting with the CFMEU and using “non-EBA subcontractors”.
  • Following an interim injunction on 29 September 2016, the Court issued orders on 14 October 2016 restraining the respondents from organising any further work stoppages or disruptions on the contractor's sites; from convening more than one meeting of workers at the same site within any seven day period; and from convening any such meeting without providing 48 hours written notice to the affected employers until the final determination of the matter.
  • The CFMEU applied for leave to appeal the orders however this was not granted with Justice Rangiah finding the union did not demonstrate sufficient prospects of success.

Workers not allowed to work after refusing CFMEU demands for fees, FWBC alleges

  • The CFMEU and one of its officers, Daniel Barker, will appear in the Federal Circuit Court following a claim lodged by FWBC alleging that two Brisbane construction workers were told they could not work on a project unless they paid fees to the CFMEU.
  • The workers had been scheduled to perform two days of work at the Zest Apartments Project in January 2016.
  • However the workers left the site without performing any work after Mr Barker allegedly told them the project was a union site and that without paying union fees of up to $1,290 they were not permitted to work.
  • FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said that all workers must be free to choose whether or not they wish to join a union, without this decision impacting on their job prospects or livelihood.

CFMEU and official to face court for allegedly shutting down site

  • The CFMEU and one of its officials, Michael “Mick” Myles, are facing court following allegations that a concrete pour at a Brisbane construction site was cancelled because the head contractor had engaged a tiling firm without CFMEU approval.
  • FWBC alleges that Mr Myles organised unlawful industrial action at the RNA K1 Commercial Tower project in retaliation against the head contractor, saying that the workers “left the site because of the tilers. We’re not happy with the tilers”.
  • FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said that no individual or company in the Australian workplace should be held to ransom for seeking to exercise their lawful rights and that FWBC will continue to work to see the rule of law restored in the construction sector.

FWBC claims six Queensland building sites targeted by union campaign

  • The CFMEU and three of its representatives are facing court action along with the CEPU and two of its representatives after a major contractor was targeted as part of a coordinated campaign to cause disruption and delay, FWBC claims. 
  • Six Watpac building sites, including the Ronald McDonald House project and the Commonwealth Games Velodrome project were allegedly targeted in a coordinated campaign that saw each site shut down on 19 and 20 August 2016.
  • FWBC claims Watpac was targeted by the unions after it engaged subcontractors who did not have CFMEU enterprise agreements.
  • As a result of the allegations, CFMEU representatives Kurt Pauls, Justin Steele and Eddie Bland will face court later this year along with CEPU representatives Robbie Gould and Mark Bateman.

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