July 2014 Industry Update

FWBC courts wrap-up

Here is an update of matters that have been in court recently:

NEW CASES FILED WITH THE COURTS

FWBC intervenes in Right of Entry matter involving CFMEU officials Powell and Clark

  • FWBC has intervened in a Magistrates Court matter where Health & Safety Representative Brett Curnow was applying for orders to allow CFMEU officials to enter a site.
  • FWBC submissions to the Court will state that the union officials, Mick Powell and Peter Clark, should not be granted orders to enter the site of Curnow’s employer until they have obtained the required Federal permits and complied with right of entry legal obligations.
  • The site is a multi-million dollar Maroondah City Council project called ‘Aquanation’, which includes childcare facilities, a dedicated learn-to-swim program pool, a 10 lane pool, and state-of-the-art diving facilities.
  • Read more about the case here.

CFMEU official in court after abusing FWBC investigator

  • FWBC has brought 10 CFMEU officials before court for allegedly breaching Right of Entry laws in a spate of illegal entries to Adelaide construction sites.
  • In one incident, Victorian CFMEU official John Perkovic is alleged to have called an FWBC inspector a “f**king piece of sh*t.”
  • It is alleged that the officials refused to show their right of entry permits and did not give 24 hours’ notice before entering the sites.
  • Read more about the case here.

CFMEU officer Bradley Upton facing court in FWBC case

  • FWBC has launched proceedings in the Federal Court against the CFMEU, the CFMEUW, and their officer Bradley Upton, over an incident at the Wheatstone project in Western Australia.
  • Upton is alleged to have ignored warnings that it would be trespassing if he went elsewhere on the site other than the nominated meeting room.
  • It is also alleged that Upton used abusive language, including towards a Bechtel representative to whom, among many similar comments, he is alleged to have said “we won’t put up with you f**cking Americans here, not here.”
  • Read more about the case here.

CFMEU Victorian President Ralph Edwards facing court over shop steward demands

  • The CFMEU and its Victorian Construction and General Branch President Ralph Edwards are being charged with coercion and adverse action, with compensation sought on behalf of a scaffolding company.
  • FWBC alleges the CFMEU and Edwards demanded that Red & Blue Scaffolding (Aust) Pty Ltd employ a CFMEU-nominated shop steward.
  • Red & Blue Scaffolding (Aust) Pty Ltd did not employ the union-nominated shop steward. Edwards is subsequently alleged to have organised, advised, incited or encouraged other shop stewards to prevent the scaffolding company from accessing the site.
  • Read more about the case here.

FWBC alleges unlawful industrial action at new Royal Adelaide Hospital site

  • FWBC has launched proceedings against 12 Hansen Yuncken employees and 11 Leighton Contractors employees who allegedly took unlawful industrial action on 25 June 2013.
  • The action took place at the $1.8 billion New Royal Adelaide Hospital site which will provide 800 beds and 40 operating theatres.
  • Employees from each company are alleged to have breached the Fair Work Act 2009 after they engaged in industrial action before their existing agreements expired.
  • Read more about the case here.

FWBC charges CFMEU with contempt over Wind Farm blockade

  • FWBC has taken action in the Federal Court against the CFMEU and its official Gareth Stephenson as a result of alleged adverse action and coercion of a contractor who would not sign an enterprise agreement with the CFMEU, at the Bald Hills Wind Farm in South Gippsland.
  • In a separate case, FWBC has filed contempt of court charges against the CFMEU. It is alleged that the union breached court orders to not blockade the project site.
  • FWBC alleges that access to the wind farm was prevented for 8 hours on 15 April 2014.
  • Read more about the case here.

CASES FINALISED

Ex-CFMEU organiser Matthew Balde convicted and fined for obstructing FWBC investigator

  • Pleading guilty to obstructing a Commonwealth public official, Matthew Balde was convicted in the Perth Magistrates Court and fined $1,000 and ordered to pay costs.
  • The conviction is a result of Mr Balde’s behaviour towards FWBC inspectors who were attending the $1.2 billion New Children’s Hospital site in Perth, and were gathering evidence of possible unlawful activity by videoing a crowd of construction workers who had gathered in a public park near the site.
  • Mr Balde had continued to stand very close to an inspector even after being told he was interfering with the inspector’s work and after a police officer asked him to step away.
  • Read more about the case here.

Judge finds against CFMEU in written reasons for decision, actions represent “gross failure of corporate governance”

  • A case against the CFMEU, Kane Pearson, Joseph Myles, and Shane Treadaway, had seen total penalties of $38,500 handed out in February for hindering, obstructing and acting in an improper manner on a Brisbane construction site in 2010.
  • Federal Circuit Court Judge Burnett has since released his written reasons for the decision, stating that there was “ample evidence of significant contravention by the CFMEU.”
  • Pearson and Myles were found to have behaved in an improper manner by being rude and offensive, including swearing at and insulting the site manager.
  • Read more about the case here.

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