November 2014 Industry Update
Consequences for law-breaking right of entry permit holders
Federal right of entry permits are issued by the Fair Work Commission to union officials to allow them to enter building and construction sites under certain conditions.
The law allows union officials to investigate breaches of workplace law, hold discussions with employees, and perform inspections under Work Health and Safety law if they hold a right of entry permit.
However, the Fair Work Commission can suspend or revoke right of entry permits at any time if the person is deemed not to be a “fit and proper person” to hold a permit. Likewise, their permit may be subjected to special conditions.
It is important that site managers continue to check the right of entry permits held by union officials who request access to a site. It is possible that union officials who previously held a right of entry permit may no longer have the same right to enter a site.
Fair Work Building & Construction (FWBC) submits applications to the Fair Work Commission if it believes someone is not a “fit and proper person” to hold a permit.
FWBC recently applied for four CFMEU officials, including SA State Secretary Aaron Cartledge, to have their right of entry permits revoked or suspended after they admitted in the Federal Court to intentionally hindering and obstructing site managers at a $75 million project.
The conduct included a physical altercation with a site manager.
Right of entry breaches are currently a big problem in the building and construction industry. FWBC currently has 44 investigations into alleged right of entry breaches and 16 right of entry cases in court.
WHAT CAN YOU DO IF A UNION OFFICIAL DOES NOT HAVE AN APPROPRIATE PERMIT?
If a union official does not have a right to enter or will not show their Federal entry permit on request and they are on your site, you should make it clear to the person that they do not have your consent to be on the site, and request that they leave.
You can report potential right of entry breaches to FWBC on 1800 003 338.
You can also refer to your local state police who may be able to help if trespass has occurred.
THE NO-PERMIT LIST AND MORE INFORMATION
The FWBC website has a No-Permit List which you can check. This is a list of union officials who do not hold a valid Federal entry permit. The list can be found at www.fwbc.gov.au/no-permit-list.
FWBC also publishes a list of union officials who have had conditions imposed on their permits, which can be found at www.fwbc.gov.au/permits-conditions.
If you have any questions, you can call our Hotline on 1800 003 338 for confidential advice or you can find more information and download a Right of Entry poster for your site from our website at: www.fwbc.gov.au/right-of-entry-on-site-resources.
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