Industry Update

Court summary – new matters

CFMEU facing legal action for alleged right of entry breaches and abusive behaviour

Federal Court proceedings were launched on 11 October against the CFMEU and two of its officials for alleged right of entry breaches involving abusive behaviour at the Elwick Road Project in Hobart.

In the Statement of Claim, the ABCC alleged that:

  • During discussions on right of entry to the project in October 2016, site management advised union organisers Kevin Harkins and Richard Hassett they were required to follow the provisions in the Fair Work Act.

  • Mr Harkins is alleged to have said words to the effect “You know we don’t do that. My boss is bigger than your boss. This is a bullsh*t law and why would we comply with it?

  • Mr Hassett used indecent language and acted in an aggressive manner.

  • Various persons objected to the abuse, with one manager referring to “offensive, personal attacks” and “nasty malicious behaviour” towards him.

Acting ABC Commissioner Cathy Cato said the allegations of abusive behaviour were extremely concerning.  She said that “permit holders have rights of entry under the Fair Work Act, but with those rights comes an obligation not to act in an improper manner.

The maximum penalty for each breach of the Fair Work Act in this case is $54,000 for bodies corporate and $10,800 for individuals.

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