06 August 2015 Industry Update

CFMEU official allegedly tells building contractor “you’re on the top of our hit list” & threatens “500 blokes” will go onsite

The CFMEU is facing Federal Court action after one of its officials allegedly told a building contractor “you’re on the top of our hit list” after he was asked to comply with right of entry laws.

The same CFMEU official, Stephen Long, also allegedly told a site manager “you don’t want to be the dog who calls the cops on a union official”.

FWBC is alleging that Mr Long and fellow Victorian CFMEU official Drew MacDonald in combination attended two construction sites in Victoria on at least five occasions over a period of two weeks, each time refusing to comply with right of entry laws, saying: “Even if I have got a permit, it’s our policy that we don’t show it”.

Union officials wanting to enter site must hold a valid federal right of entry permit and provide 24 hours’ notice. They must also show their federal right of entry permit upon request.

At the $20 million children’s toy company construction site in Cheltenham, the site manager told Mr Long that if he went on site without showing his permit, he would call the police. Mr Long allegedly warned the site manager “Who’s going to stop me? All this s**t is going to blow over in a few weeks, but we won’t forget this low act, trust me you don’t want to be the dog who calls the cops on a union official. We won’t forget you did this.”

Mr Long spoke to workers both on site and in the lunch shed. Upon learning the police had been called, Mr Long allegedly threatened the site manager: "We will have 500 blokes here on site tomorrow. We won’t sign an EBA with you guys next year, your wages will drop, you blokes will be on nothing”.

Over a two week period Mr MacDonald and Mr Long attended a second site in Laverton North on five occasions. Both allegedly refused to provide their right of entry permits, with Mr MacDonald maintaining “I don’t need one of those, we don’t do that.” The project is worth an estimated $22 million and was being managed by the same head contractor as the Cheltenham project. While on site Mr Long allegedly ordered all workers into the lunch sheds, before Mr MacDonald told the site manager “This is a meeting for workers only.”

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said that right of entry breaches are serious matters, as are reports of threatening behaviour on building and construction sites. “Threatening or intimidating workers will not be tolerated,” Mr Hadgkiss said. “I find reports of threats made in response to a simple request to comply with the law particularly concerning.”

FWBC is alleging that the CFMEU broke the law 15 times, Mr MacDonald eight times and Mr Long seven times. The maximum penalties available to the court in this case are $10,200 for and individual and $51,000 for a corporation, including a union.

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