There have been three matters finalised in the courts since the last Industry Update. A summary is below:
- CFMEU and 19 of its officials were penalised $817,500 after they shut down two major Brisbane sites in a bid to force the head contractor to sign a CFMEU enterprise agreement.
- Work stoppages took place during several months in 2013 at two construction sites – the $777 million Enoggera Army Barracks and $60 million QUT Kelvin Grove Campus.
- Industrial action continued until the head contractor signed the CFMEU enterprise agreement.
- In his decision handed down on 9 March, Justice Rangiah said the union’s conduct was “deliberate, flagrant and systematic”, with “no evidence of any attempts by the CFMEU to take corrective steps to ensure that [CFMEU officials] and agents comply with the law”.
- ABC Commissioner Stephen McBurney said the sustained campaign on the head contractor impacted important major projects and risked the livelihoods of those who wanted to work.
- CFMEU has been ordered to pay the maximum penalty of $51,000 for encouraging works to defy their employer’s safety policy.
- It’s official Pomare Auimatagi was also penalised $7,500 in a decision handed down by the Federal Circuit Court on 8 March.
- The Court found that in January 2014, Mr Auimatagi encouraged workers at the University of Newcastle site to attend work wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts in defiance of the employer’s Two Longs Safety Policy.
- The policy was consistent with the CFMEU’s own published guidance on heat management and advice from Comcare, the national safety regulator.
- In imposing the maximum penalty on the CFMEU, the Court found the union “demonstrated a complete disregard for obeying the law” and that there was no evidence of “contrition”.
- ABC Commissioner Stephen McBurney said the conduct in the matter had put the health and safety of workers at risk.
- The CFMEU and its shop steward Godwin Farrugia were penalised $105,000 for stopping two employees from working at a Melbourne site, because they were not financial members of the union.
- On 26 February, the Federal Court found that at a site induction at the Quest Apartments on 17 March 2014, Mr Farrugia asked the workers about their union membership saying: “You haven’t paid [your membership]. You need to fix it. I can't let you work if you're not paid up”.
- When one worker asked to be given a month to pay his fees because he had not worked in three months and accumulated household bills, Mr Farrugia replied, “I can’t give you that long. I give you two days.”
- In his judgment, Justice Tracey said the CFMEU shop steward was “enforcing a ‘no ticket no start’ regime on the site” and that “neither the CFMEU nor Mr Farrugia exhibited any contrition for their misconduct.”
- The Court imposed near-maximum penalties of $95,000 against the CFMEU. Mr Farrugia was penalised $10,000.
- ABC Commissioner Stephen McBurney said there is no place for ‘no-ticket, no-start’ practices on Australian construction sites.
- “This case is a clear example of why workers’ rights to freedom of association must be protected,” he said.